Family Counseling Near Me
It is normal for families to deal with conflict, misunderstandings, and stress. Afterall, there is no such thing as a perfect family.
Families, like any other relationship, require time, work, and effort to support everyone’s individual needs and the family unit as a whole. With daily stressors, a fast-paced schedule, and everything in between, personal issues and concerns can add up and create family dysfunction rather than a loving support system.
Whether a family’s concern is a mental health condition in a parent or child, a family crisis or life changes, or the need for better stress management, family counseling can help you manage these situations. By learning effective communication strategies and processing issues with one another, your familial relationships’ quality will strengthen.
Deciding whether your family should work with a counselor is a big decision. If you’ve been considering working with a family counselor near you, a good place to start is to learn more about what this kind of therapy entails and how it can help.
What is Family Counseling?
The goal of family counseling is to identify and address problems in the family. These issues could be emotional, psychological, or behavioral. It’s not always about having everyone in the same room together, but about the methods and strategies used to resolve the family unit’s issues. In some cases, your counselor will find it most beneficial to have each family member present together for the session, or they may recommend speaking with everyone involved separately. It is very likely that a combination of both of these options will be recommended and effective in ensuring proper treatment. Each family is unique, so it typically depends on the situation and present circumstances.
Your counselor might utilize talk therapy in order to achieve your goals in therapy, but there are many ways that your sessions can look. Sometimes, therapists might include play, trust building exercises, art, and more to increase understanding and positive communication within the family unit in session.
Either way, your counselor will take the time to understand these dynamics while guiding you in communicating effectively, discovering common ground, expanding awareness, and strengthening your support for one another. You may also notice improvements in your individual mental health as you learn to cope and manage stress in a healthy way.
When should you seek family counseling?
Families without a structured or healthy communication style can quickly fall into turmoil in the face of stress or change. Even the most healthy, functioning family can become dysfunctional in unusual circumstances. If you recognize any of the following situations, consider getting help through family counseling.
Major life changes. Change isn’t easy to manage for anyone. Whether a parent is moving out or new step siblings are moving in, these changes can create tension and become challenging for everyone involved. Family therapy allows you to assert your concerns with one another and generate strategies to make it work.
Children and adolescent behavioral issues. Noticing behavior changes in your child or teenager is a common cause for concern. It can be that family dynamics are the root of the issue, or their behavior is causing tension between family members. Addressing these changes in counseling can help in understanding and resolving them.
Substance abuse. The actions taken by someone struggling with addiction can potentially affect everyone in the family. Addiction is a severe disease, but it’s not something your family has to deal with alone. Learning how to support one another throughout every stage of addiction is essential to the recovery of that family member and the family unit’s functioning.
Trauma. Any traumatic experience is difficult to cope with. Whether it’s a divorce, a discovery of a new affair, or the death of a relative, the stress intensifies when it involves an entire family. Emotions may seem challenging to navigate, and communication may be lacking. Everyone reacts to these experiences differently. Working with a trained counselor will help your family process the situation while adjusting to these changes.
Isolation. If you feel alone or notice another member of your family separating themselves more often, this can mean something more than wanting alone time. Everyone needs privacy. But if you see a decrease in socialization or an unusual behavior change, you may feel concerned or worried. A child may be going through something personal or suffering from a mental health condition, such as depression. Regardless of the reason, family counseling can promote reconnection and help communicate the issue and provide additional resources if needed.
Mental Illness. Some of the mental health issues that can affect family functioning include depression, anxiety, PTSD, behavioral problems, eating disorders, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. These issues affect the entire family almost as much as they affect the individual experiencing them. When one person struggles with a problem, those closest to that person can be often hurt the most. Family therapy can increase support and understanding in these situations, reducing shame, isolation, and disconnection.
Communication issues. Communication is challenging in any relationship. Comments can come off the wrong way, there may be a frequent misunderstanding, or you may just be experiencing the silent treatment more than usual. Through family counseling, your family can identify any communication issues and improve the ways you interact with one another, no matter what the circumstance.
Stress. Sometimes, there’s just a lot happening at once in our lives and our homes. An overwhelming amount of pressure comes out in different ways- such as emotional outbursts, anger, or tension. Discussing and addressing what is happening openly and coping with it can strengthen the communication between you and your family.
Resonating with one or more of these factors doesn’t necessarily mean that your family needs to see a therapist as soon as possible, but maybe consider any of these factors to signal that family therapy might be a healthy option to strengthen and support your family unit.
So what happens at your first family counseling session?
Like individual therapy, a family session is usually around 50 minutes. The therapist will spend time getting to know and understand your family members and the presenting issues.
To understand the family system, the family is assessed within various areas of functioning (I.e. home life, outside relationships, communication, roles in the home, etc.). . You’ll be introduced to the therapy process while the counselor then takes time to get to know each family member, what brings them in, and what stressors they are facing. The therapist will observe how family members communicate with one another and who takes on which roles.
To create a safe place for your family to share and discuss, your counselor will set up a few ground rules to ensure that everyone involved is respected and allowed to share. Any questions or concerns you may have about the process will also be addressed.
The process of facing and overcoming challenges can strengthen the bond within a family. Although it’s not easy, living with tension and pain is far more challenging. A professional counselor will guide you and your family along the way, supplying unconditional support, empathy, and validation.
Each family has the right to take time to decide whether working with a counselor would help them. To learn more about family counseling and how it can help your family, contact us today.
About the Contributor
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Mandy is a creative and multi-passionate marketer. She is responsible for supporting, developing, and executing strategic marketing campaigns. She works on all marketing pieces for the company from the life of the website, email marketing, social media, and outreach to support brand awareness around all things Elliott Counseling Group offers.
Erica is the Clinical Supervisor and one of many therapists at Elliott Counseling Group. As the Clinical Supervisor she supports clinical growth, oversees protocols, and provides mentorship, monitoring, support, and supervision to therapists. As a therapist, she specializes in trauma work, depression, children/teen issues, and crisis management.
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