There is no question about the importance of having a healthy family connection. Everything seems right when we have a happy, healthy and stable family. Unfortunately, amid the stress of modern lives, many families go through conflicts and issues. Families that have a hard time connecting are sometimes termed as dysfunctional families. The key to fixing a dysfunctional family lies in family therapy.
How to Find the Best Family Counselor
Family counseling is an excellent way to develop and maintain balance, unity and love between family members. The therapy is designed to address one or more issues affecting the family’s health and functioning. A family counselor may employ various techniques to address and resolve the problem, including behavioral, cognitive, or interpersonal therapy. However, the focus remains on improving communication, creating a better home environment, understanding each other’s needs and functioning together as a family to lead a happier life.
Research and studies demonstrate the efficacy of family counseling in treating a wide range of mental and emotional problems. A study found that family-based intervention is extremely effective in treating mental health issues in some adolescents. Likewise, family counselors can also help people deal with depression, substance abuse, grief, infidelity, disagreements and more. These experts can reinforce positive behavior to achieve conflict resolution and improve communication within a family. It is often a short-term program that needs to be participated by the entire family. However, it depends on how many people in the family are willing to take part in the therapy.
What is Family Therapy?
While many types of psychotherapy work with individuals, family therapy takes a holistic approach by effectively working with each family member to resolve the underlying issues. There are several dynamics to family therapy as many diverse groups take part in family therapy sessions. The family therapist addresses each group differently based on the issue the family is facing. One of the main focuses of family therapy sessions is to observe how the family behaves and communicates with each other, and how these interactions affect the relationship.
How Family Therapy Works
Family therapy counselors make members understand each other’s behavior and how it tends to hurt their relationships. The methodology involves teaching skills like paying attention and actively listening to heal communication gaps. The treatment course is mostly short and can be completed within 8 to 15 sessions. The therapist may also address individual family members separately or send them to other experts if they seem to be suffering from any serious mental health issues. This allows the relationship more time to heal.
Goal of Family Therapy
The primary goal of family therapy is to identify and address issues within the family. Family therapists work with the idea that each individual is part of a social group, and people influence their behavior in their social groups. So, even if a single person in the family faces stress, depression or other issues, everyone in the family would require help to cope with it.
Why Family Counseling Works
Sometimes even what seems to be the most perfect family may need support and advice in dealing with situations like unemployment, death, illness, or addiction. Other times, a family may need help from an unbiased observer to manage their personal conflicts. Family counseling can have wellness models to approach such issues. Family therapy helps family members in the following ways:
1. Helps understand each other better
2. Helps develop healthy boundaries
3. Improves communication
4. Helps in proactively working together to break unhealthy practices
5. Addresses dysfunctional communication patterns
6. Improves behavioral issues in children and adolescents
7. Helps in dealing with separation, blended family and more
8. Helps develop coping skills to combat mental health issues and substance abuse
9. Helps clear misunderstandings and strengthens mutual relationships
10. Helps members that come from different racial and religious backgrounds
11. Improves the ability to give and receive love
12. Helps move from being a dysfunctional family to a functional family
Family counseling may not always solve the problem, but it can surely help families cope with different situations in a healthy manner.
When to Consider Family Therapy
When there are problems within the family due to one or several issues, it is best to seek family therapy. It can help improve relationships with the different members of the family. As a thumb rule, it can help families come together and get an emotional check. Just like people get regular health checkups to see if everything is alright with the body; with family therapy, you can keep a check on the family’s emotional well-being.
You should seek family therapy if:
1. You have difficulty interacting or expressing emotions
2. You need to address conflicts between or extended family members
3. You face parenting and marital problems
4. You think the situation is too overwhelming to handle
5. You have behavioral issues
6. You have difficulty in adapting to a change
7. You’re dealing with health issues or death in the family
8. You’re dealing with addiction or mental health problems
If you believe that family issues are hard to handle or your family is on the verge of a breakdown, it is a good time to seek family therapy.
Why Family Counseling is Important
Family counseling is important because it mends relationships and addresses contentious problems which result in stress, anxiety and other mental health issues that affect family members.
Family therapy can help in the following ways:
Having difficulty expressing one’s feelings is one of the most common problems that create distance between family members. Family counselors ‘break the ice’ and teach ways to have open and honest communication.
Builds Strong Bonds
Sibling conflicts are often a reason for fights and disputes in a family. Children often harbor feelings of jealousy and insecurity which is sometimes difficult for parents to understand. A family counselor can better understand the problem and help them with techniques to bring both the kids together and build strong bonds.
Improves Mental Health
Mental peace is crucial for any relationship. Peace automatically ensues when everyone in the family understands each other and works together as a unit. Family counselors identify ways to improve family relationships and teach ways to disagree healthily, thus improving the overall mental health of family members. Medical professionals can help recognize issues even before the problem surfaces to the point of conflict. They also help find simple things that the family can do to ensure that they do not get to that dark place where communication stops.
How to Choose the Best Family Counselor
While choosing the best family counselor or a therapist, there are certain things you should consider. You will need to look at different aspects of the family and the counselors. This means no matter how good a counselor is, your approach might fail without family support.
Here are some things to consider while choosing the best family counselor:
Every family is unique. This means the kind of counselor the family requires also needs to be different. You need to first try the services of the family counselor and make sure that he or she understands your family’s issues and is compassionate towards the problems you’re facing. It is essential to know that they are sensitive, experienced and accommodating to your family’s unique needs.
Location is an essential aspect while deciding on a family counselor. No matter how good the counselor is, if it means traveling to the other side of town, it might lead to more frustration, anger and resentment. If the counselor is closer to your general area, it may encourage the family to make it to the counseling session with ease.
We all live within a budget. Therefore, the cost of a family counselor becomes ever so important when considering family therapy. If the counselor is too expensive, then there is every chance that it may not be very affordable to your family’s standard of living. One has to afford the services and manage it with all the other costs associated with everyday life.
Scheduling is another important aspect of selecting a counselor for your family. Family counseling involves more than one person. Therefore, you need to ensure that all schedules are matched in advance, and no one is at inconvenience. The sessions need to be scheduled such that everyone can show up and devote themselves completely to the session’s objectives. At the end of the day, no matter how good the counselor, only family participation can make the counseling work.
Does My Family Need Counseling?
Deciding whether your family needs counseling might sound like a straightforward decision. If you feel that your family is facing problems functioning together as a unit, then family counseling is a good option. The stigma associated with family counseling often makes it hard for a family to consider counseling. But, in fact, talking to a family counselor and seeking help can be a significant step forward towards a happier family life. With each family counseling session, your family will learn to understand, communicate and work together to build a better relationship with other family members. Do not delay seeking professional help as catching early signs of a dysfunctional family can lead to a better family life.