If you're having family issues, there is no shame in seeking family counseling to fix it. Family counseling helps those who are having problems that can damage the overall well-being of the family. These can include mental health problems, transitions in life, and other problems with your family. In this post, we will discuss the various reasons why family therapy can be right for you.
What Is Family Counseling?
Family therapy involves counseling the entire family when it comes to an issue. The family can be talked to individually, in a group, or a combination of all the above. It's designed to help parents and their children, siblings, and all sorts of other family members.
Family therapy has a history. In the early 20th century, there was social work that was focused on the family. However, true family therapy did not come until the 1950s, when more people realized the family unit's value.
How It Helps
You may be wondering what issues family therapy treats. It can treat quite a few problems, including:
Divorce is something that can change the family in many radical ways. The child may feel like the divorce is their fault or maybe confused about why their parents are no longer together. Also, divorce can change the dynamic of the family radically. Family counseling is designed to understand the divorce and learn how they can cope with all the challenges that come with it.
A death in the family is something else that can transform a family. If someone major in the family dies, it can affect how the family operates. Financial decisions and other decisions are now left up in the air. Also, there is the grief that comes with death. A counselor can talk to children and help them make sense of the idea of death. They can also help the family by figuring out ways they can move on.
As hard as it is to admit, money is something that can transform a family. If someone has been providing for a family and losing their job, it can be hard for them to function. Poor finances can make a family feel like they're falling apart, and that's no good.
A counselor can help a family make a plan as to how they can manage their finances and help them to reclaim their finances as well if that's possible.
Mental Health Concerns
A family member's mental health can impact how the family functions. For example, if a family member develops depression, the other family members may feel worn out trying to treat them. Treating someone with mental health issues requires patience and love, but being patient isn't always easy.
Miscommunication is a big reason why many relationships fall apart. You may feel like, as a family, you are all on the same wavelength. However, this is not always the case. You can miscommunicate in different ways. For example, you ask someone to do the chores, and they misinterpret that as something else. Whatever the case may be, communication issues are hard, and by learning how to communicate better, your relationship can improve.
Drug or alcohol addiction can change the family dynamic. If someone is spending all their money on drugs or alcohol, it can impact your finances. Someone who is addicted starts to change, and it can destroy their mental health. They may change their personality or their habits to enable their addiction.
If you have children, they are going to change. For example, a child who is growing into a teenager my a change in mood. They may be more rebellious, and this can cause drama in the family. A counselor explains why these changes happen and what you can do to reach a compromise. Don't treat your changing child as your enemy, but instead someone who needs care and understanding.
For Sibling Rivalries
It's okay for siblings to have rivalries. Every sibling is going to fight and have disagreements or be very competitive. The problem comes when the siblings fight so much that it impacts how they behave. For example, siblings who are always trying to one-up each other may end up causing damage in the long-run, being too competitive, and taking it too far. A counselor can help promote a healthy rivalry and avoid taking it too far.
If a child or children is having problems in school, it's difficult not to blame someone, be it your teacher, your child, or anyone else. However, you should realize that sometimes, it can be a combination of everything. Or it can be an underlying issue your child has. A therapist can help you fix this problem by studying your child and looking for the cause. The cause may be right under your nose, or it can take a long time for you to figure out. Either way, you can be able to help your child succeed in school.
Helps With Family Members Who Are Estranged
Sometimes, you may become estranged from a family member. This may be due to a disagreement or just drifting apart. While some family members were not meant for each other, there are others where a little communication goes a long way and helps you better yourself. With family counseling, you can learn the skills to talk to your estranged family member and help reconnect with them.
Helps The Family Make Plans and Stay Motivated
Sometimes, a therapist isn't there just for people who have dilemmas or other issues. Sometimes, a counselor can help the family who wants to be a little more motivated. For example, a family who wants to plan a vacation can learn money-saving skills to benefit them. If one person in the family wants a dream job, a therapist can teach them how to support the family member who wants it and lift them.
Finding The Right Therapist For The Job
Finding the right therapist to help treat your family member can be difficult, but you can do it with a little bit of research. Here are a few red flags to look out for when searching for a family therapist.
How To Find The Therapist That's Good For You
Finding the right family therapist can be a bit of a challenge, but you can fix this by narrowing your choices down.
Recommendations work well when it comes to family therapy. Odds are, you know, some families struggling and needed help, and then saw a counselor. These family members can help you by recommending some counselors to you and tell you what they did to have the best therapy session possible.
How Family Therapists Help
Family therapists use different techniques to help you. One such technique is systems therapy, which looks at the family dynamics and sees how they operate. Whenever there is an undesired behavior, family systems therapy can help you by being able to locate the source of the problem and eliminating it. Meanwhile, a therapist may use other methods as well, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, which strives to help you remove any negative thoughts by replacing them with more supportive ones.
If you need help with your family or need individual help, there is no shame in talking to a counselor to improve your life. Especially when it comes to family, you only have one family, and in many cases, family therapy can help you.
By seeking help, you admit that you or your family has a problem, and you're willing to fix it. This is a good thing and can benefit you in so many ways, such as helping you to realize that sometimes, you're closer to your family than you think, and you don't necessarily need to end up severing ties. Most issues are fixable, and you need to find the right therapist.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does family counseling do?
Family counseling can help you improve poor relationships with your partner, children, or other family members. Family counseling can consist of the whole family meeting with a marriage and family therapist or individual therapy for each family member, or a combination of both. Major life events such as a death in the family, divorce, or the loss of a job may be the center focus of family counseling, or it could be used to address the conflict between family members caused by mental illness, substance abuse, behavioral problems, or other family issues. Sometimes, family counseling is needed when children are experiencing behavioral problems, for which play therapy is a great solution.
When should you seek family counseling?
You should seek family counseling when there is conflict or hardship with a family member or the entire family. Family issues such as divorce, a death in the family, financial troubles, substance abuse, behavioral problems, and more are reasons you should seek family counseling. On that note, family counseling can help the entire family improve their bond and isn’t just necessary when there is a conflict with a family member. Many families benefit from connecting with a family counseling service for the simple purpose of improving their relationships with one another.
How much does a family counselor cost?
The average cost of receiving marriage and family counseling is $100 per hour. Many marriage and family therapists operate on a sliding scale based on the family’s income, and some are covered by insurance. Find a family therapist who offers services within your price range. Online therapy is becoming increasingly popular and tends to be more affordable than in-person counseling. Try searching mytherapist.com to find marriage and family therapists near you.
Does family counseling really work?
Yes, family counseling really works when connected to the right family counseling service and when all family members are on board. The first step is to find a family counselor who is right for your family’s needs. Marriage and family therapy is used to resolve family issues within the entire family that has caused anger, resentment, stress, or conflict. Your family may need individual therapy, joint family therapy, or both for counseling to be successful. Sessions can be conducted via online therapy or in person-whichever is most beneficial for your family.
What are the disadvantages of family therapy?
The biggest disadvantage of family counseling is that you may not get the whole family on board with attending marriage and family counseling. You may be on board, but your partner or children may not be. Marriage and family counseling works best when all family members are on board. If someone is on the fence or defiant about attending, trying online therapy or individual therapy may be an option to warm them up to the idea of attending therapy as a family. Another disadvantage to marriage and family therapy is that feelings can temporarily intensify during counseling, making it more difficult to live with the family member you conflict with.
How do I prepare for family counseling?
When preparing for family counseling, first, you’ll want to talk with your children about why you’re getting therapy. You’ll also want to write down topics you want to be discussed before each appointment and ask your marriage and family therapist how you can improve discussions at home.
What are the most common problems in a family?
The most common family issues include arguments, disagreement over parenting styles, poor communication, financial hardship, divorce, behavioral problems in children, mental illness, and substance abuse. These aren’t the only reasons families attend marriage and family therapy, however.
What makes a family dysfunctional?
Some components of a dysfunctional family include poor communication, mental illness, substance abuse, controlling behavior, lack of empathy, violence, perpetual financial hardship, and more.