working with families to nurture change and development
Family therapy is based on the belief that the family is a unique social system with its own structure and patterns of communication. The patterns are determined by the family’s values and beliefs, each person’s personality, and the influence of the extended family members such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles. As a result every family develops their own unique and influential personality.
Family therapy is based on the following concepts as well:
• When one family member is viewed as ill or in need of counseling, it may actually be an indication of a larger family problem. It is possible that if the person with the illness is treated but the family is not, another member of the family will become ill. It is similar to when a doctor treats a symptom of a disease, but not the disease itself.
• The cycle will continue until the problems are examined and treated accordingly.
• Because the family is a system in and of itself, if a change in one member of the family takes place, it will affect both the family structure and each member independently. Think about when a family member is not longer present and how not only will the entire structure of the family change, but how each person is affected differently.
What to expect from family therapy:
• Family therapy does not place blame, but rather looks at each member’s role in keeping the family at its current state
• Clients will get an in depth look about how their family functions. What is working? What do they want to change? How can changes be made?
• We will identify anxieties and conflicts in an effort to help the whole family develop strategies to resolve them.
• Each family member will become more aware and more capable in an effort to work on family problems together.
• At times how family members approach problems make them more likely to develop unhealthy behaviors. With family counseling, a family can learn to handle changes and conflicts within the family in a productive and positive way.
• Sometimes one family member may need to change their behavior more than another, but everyone will need to make changes to better the system.
• Clients who participate in family therapy sessions learn more about themselves and about how their family functions.
At times each family member may need to miss a session; therefore session can vary depending on availabilities. The number of sessions will depend on the nature and severity of the problem. Goals are set by the family to help move the process along.
Who does family therapy?
• If a condition is interfering with your life and the lives of your family. As the family begins to function better, the stress level for the person with the health problem lowers.
• Parents who are having relational conflicts
• Siblings not getting along with one another
• Child and parent conflicts
• A child is having behavior or school problems.
• A family member has a substance abuse problem, an eating disorder, or a long-term (chronic) mental illness such as severe depression.
• A major event is about to happen in a family and the family wants to be prepared for the changes that will take place (combining families, losing a loved one, job transitions, etc,)