Family bonds are supposed to be forever, but the reality of life is that just like any relationship, your bonds can be pushed to their limits. When your family has drama, disagreements, or your relationships are estranged, it can feel like there’s no hope.
This is why family counseling is nothing to be ashamed of. When you’re having issues in your family, seeking help from a counselor is beneficial in so many ways. First, let’s explain what a family counselor is.
What is Family Counseling?
Family counseling goes by many names. Family therapy, family systems therapy, marriage and family therapy, and other terms. It’s a type of therapy that, as you probably guessed, helps families. Family, in this context, can refer to relatives, but it can also refer to couples as well.
The goal of family counseling is to change the way how family members interact and how they find solutions. There are many branches of family therapy, which we’ll discuss later, but most agree that by improving communication, reaching common ground, and working with one another to come up with solutions, family counseling can benefit most types of family.
Types of Family Counseling
Family counseling describes various approaches that one can have. Here are a few types:
One of the reasons why families can’t solve problems is that they’re afraid to speak out. They may not like conflict or have a family member who can’t stand disagreement. This type of counseling gives family members a way to express their opinions in a safe place. A counselor can be a mediator who can take one family member’s grievance and word it in a way so it can reach another person. It can often be hard to explain your opinions without sounding confrontational, and in an argument, both parties may try to one-up each other. Supportive family therapy tries to find that common ground.
Cognitive-Behavioral Family Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a common practice in most types of therapy. It involves looking at one’s habits and thoughts and finding a relationship with them. For example, our behaviors may make it harder to sleep, and by changing our sleep habits, we can get more winks.
With family issues, certain behaviors and thoughts can be toxic for the family. The therapist can work with the entire family and give them assignments to improve their thoughts and behaviors.
Systemic therapy focuses on the family as a whole. The therapist will look at their thoughts and behaviors, then find out how this is affecting the family overall. This type of therapy believes that the whole is more important than the individual, as one person’s feelings can affect the entire family and vice versa. A therapist will try to work with the family to improve their entire system and help them live in harmony.
These are just some of the many branches of family therapy. With that said, let’s look at some reasons why you may go seek a counselor.
Online Family Therapy
This is any type of family therapy that is done remotely, usually through a smartphone or computer. Online family therapy is beneficial for when some members can’t meet up in the same room, or if the family lives in an area where finding a good therapist isn’t doable.
Reasons Family Counseling is Needed
Family counseling should be sought if you feel like you need it, but here are some reasons why you may seek it.
A Big Change in the Family
One reason why many seek a family therapist is that there is a huge change that the family is coping with. Big changes can be something that’s hard to adjust to, and the family could end up taking their fears and frustrations out on one another.
For example, you may seek family therapy after a big move. The children, or even the adults, may have a hard time adjusting to such a change. Another change that’s common to seek family therapy for is after a divorce. Finally, a death in the family may be a reason to seek family therapy.
Disagreements are bound to happen in any family. No matter how homogeneous you think you are, there’s going to be disagreements over life choices, beliefs, and other decisions. Some families can agree to disagree and learn to embrace differences, but for others, that is difficult. One way family counseling can help is by helping everyone find common ground, or learning to set boundaries so that these disagreements are not brought up.
When one’s children aren’t behaving, a parent may not know what to do. Disciplining a child may help, but if the child still keeps disobeying, there may be underlying issues. A family therapist is beneficial in this situation because they know how to speak to both a parent and child in a way they can understand.
By finding the root cause for a child’s misbehavior, the family can learn how to work together in harmony once again.
A Marriage on the Rocks
Family therapy is good for when your marriage or long-term relationship feels like it’s at the tipping point. When you are always fighting or are considering a divorce, family therapy can turn you around.
Quite often, couples don’t realize that many of their problems are fixable through some simple communication changes, or by talking it out. A therapist can be a person who allows the couple to repair their marriage in a safe, nonjudgmental environment.
Just To Make Your Family Even Better
Family therapy doesn’t only need to be a thing when the family is arguing and at each other’s throats. You can also use family therapy as a sort of maintenance check to make your family even better and look for small flaws before they grow into something worse.
Family therapy is beneficial in many ways. If you’re someone who has wanted to seek therapy for your family, there’s no shame in doing so.
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