FAMILY COUNSELLING

 

What is Family Therapy?

Family therapy, also known as family counselling, is a type of psychotherapy that aims to fix issues affecting the health and functioning of families. It can be beneficial for families going through a challenging time or those who have members with a mental illness. It can assist couples, children, and members of an extended family in developing better communication and conflict resolution skills.

Family therapy is a psychological treatment that requires the participation of you and all your family members to resolve issues as a group. Your family's problems may affect your personal relationships, career, schoolwork, health, etc. Family therapy is a multidisciplinary approach that provides a safe place to share feelings and experiences. It is a way to help you overcome conflict, enhance your communication skills, and learn better-coping strategies.

This type of therapy can help your whole family function better as a unit. The goal is to treat individual members and address the problems that are affecting your family as a whole.

What happens during family therapy?

During this type of therapy, everyone in the family participates. This may include children and teenagers (with parental consent), parents, and extended family members. Before you begin, your therapist may ask each member to complete a thorough history. This includes information about your family's medical and psychiatric history, your relationships with other family members, and details about your upbringing.

In order to facilitate constructive communication among family members, the focus is on how everyone relates to one another (e.g., who is dominant, who takes on the role of protector). The family counsellor uses different techniques to address the issues at hand. These include goal setting, individual counselling, group counselling, action planning, support system creation, and problem-solving.

Your family therapist can help you resolve issues in your family system, which means everyone is involved. The therapist works to heal the whole family instead of just focusing on the individual. This approach reduces the chances of passing problems on to future generations or allowing new issues in family members who had not been affected before. In family therapy, you can focus on positive changes within your family instead of just addressing your problems to manage them.

What can family therapy help me with?

Family therapy can assist families in overcoming many issues, including:

1) Communication problems

The family members may not be on the same page about finances, parenting styles, or other issues. Family therapy helps establish clear rules and boundaries, plus healthy communication methods that can be used at home.

2) Parent-child conflicts

Teens, in particular, may experience problems with their parents that affect their mental health. This can include substance abuse issues, family rules about sex, and physical or emotional abuse. Family therapy is a good way to address these problems before they get worse. Families can work on their problems with the guidance of a mental health professional in a safe and controlled environment.

3) Divorce, separation, or marital problems

Marital conflict can affect everyone in the family. When parents are unhappy, their children may experience emotional pain. Marriage and family therapists are helpful when dealing with issues like adultery, loss of intimacy, and even divorce.

4) Addiction problems

If one or more family members have an addiction (drugs, alcohol, sex), family therapy can be useful. The family members need to attend therapy sessions together with addiction problems. This might include attending individual therapy sessions, couples counselling, family counselling, and group therapy.

5) Children's behaviour problems

The family environment can affect a child's behaviour. Children may become anxious, moody, or depressed if they feel overwhelmed by family problems. Therapy sessions provide a safe place for children to talk about their feelings and explore healthy ways of coping with stress.

6) Relationship issues

In some families, one member has a relationship problem (e.g., with their spouse or child). When this happens, it can affect family dynamics and increase stress levels among family members. Therapy sessions allow for open communication about conflicts and help to resolve them before they affect the rest of the family.

7) Changes within the family system

Family members adjust to the birth of a new baby, divorce, remarriage, job loss/retirement, or death of a loved one. These events can increase stress and lead to problems, such as divorce and substance abuse. Family therapy is a good way to discuss these problems and develop a plan for dealing with them.

Techniques used in Family Therapy

Family therapy methods are generally determined by the theoretical viewpoint of the therapist, as well as the family's unique requirements. Some techniques that may be utilized include:

1) Behavioural techniques

These can help family members learn how to cope with their emotions and develop problem-solving skills that address specific issues. Family therapy may include modelling new behaviours to help family members, plus positive reinforcement when they demonstrate effective communication skills.

2) Cognitive restructuring techniques

This type of therapy is helpful for families who blame each other for problems. It helps the family understand that everyone is fallible and more tolerant of their shortcomings. Cognitive restructuring can help strengthen the family unit by helping family members to see things from each other's perspectives.

3) Narrative techniques

This technique is based on the idea that family members are affected by their past experiences. If they have experienced trauma or unresolved issues, this can affect how they interact. Narrative therapy helps family members to identify the challenges they face and develop a better understanding of each other's life experiences.

4) Psychodynamic techniques

This approach helps family members to understand themselves and their feelings more deeply. It's based on the idea that past experiences shape how we think and feel about the world. By bringing the unconscious into awareness, family members understand their emotions and develop greater self-awareness

5) Systemic family therapy

This approach can help families create a plan for healthy relationships. The therapist will listen and help the family identify and understand problems they're facing together. The therapist may also help the family develop new communication skills, solve problems as a group, and improve their overall family function.

How can I prepare myself and my family for family therapy?

You can prepare yourself and your family for therapy by following these tips:

1) Set up an initial consultation.

Before attending therapy sessions, meeting with your therapist in person may be helpful. During the initial consultation, you can give more specific information about what's bothering you and discuss your treatment goals. It also allows the therapist to assess your needs and determine if entire family therapy is appropriate for you.

2) Be open-minded.

Many people worry that therapy means they or their family members are "crazy." For this reason, many people avoid getting help. If you're worried about how you or your family will be perceived in family psychotherapy, talk to your therapist about it. It may also help think of therapy as an opportunity for change, improving your life and functional family relationships.

3) Prepare your family.

Family therapy is generally more effective when every family member participates. If you have children, however, it may be helpful to prepare them for therapy sessions. Let them know what to expect and what are the benefits of family therapy.

4) Identify specific problems.

It's helpful to identify the specific behaviours that are causing problems for your family. For instance, if you and your spouse constantly fight over money issues, you may focus on learning how to communicate about finances in therapy. If your children are misbehaving, you may establish rules and consequences.

How can I find the right therapist for my family?

Finding the right therapist for you and your family is crucial to your therapy's success. It's fine to take your time, ask questions, check credentials, and even "interview" therapists to discover the best match. You can find therapists in your area by searching online or contacting family counselling centres directly.

One of the best ways to start this process is by looking online. Most therapists list themselves on their websites, so you can learn more about them before setting up an appointment. If you're looking to connect with a specific type of therapist, such as those specializing in family therapy, you can also try searching online databases.

Our team is a great place to start. With a wide variety of therapists in all types of specialties, you're sure to find the right match for your family. We offer a free initial consultation, so contact us today!