Do You Need Family Counseling?
Family therapy is different from individual therapy. Professionals who provide family therapy recognize that problems affect all of the people in a family. They understand that the complicated family dynamic can help to make problems better or worse. They involve all family members in solutions and understanding.
Individual vs Family Therapy
Family counseling does not necessarily replace an individual’s needs. There are many instances where an individual needs help alone in addition to working with his or her family. They might work with the same counselor, or prefer to use a different one. There is no single “right” approach, as every person and family has unique problems.
Often, problems that one family member is experiencing are really symptoms of a bigger problem. Family therapy can uncover deeper problems. Often, people are able to express feelings to their loved ones in therapy that they have never been able to share on their own.
In addition, family therapy provides support to the family as a whole. If one family member is struggling with a problem, such as addiction, family counseling can give his or her loved ones a way to connect and offer support to each other. They can learn about what their family member is facing and discover strategies to help when possible.
Family therapy may be related to general family dynamics (e.g., blended family conflict, e.g., disrespect among family members, e.g., lack of open communication) or family therapy may be targeted towards a narrow subject, such as:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Other Mental Illness
If you are considering family therapy, you can expect that not everyone in your family will be equally open. In many families, one or more people is reluctant to open up to a counselor. During family therapy you will learn to focus on the fact that your family has a problem that you will work on together, and avoid placing blame on any person in particular.
Therapists often assign “homework” to complete or think about between sessions and it is important to follow through. It takes practice to change the way you think or behave.
Sometimes people in family therapy don’t like what they hear. During counseling, emotions often run high. Remember that you are working on a problem, and sometimes things get worse before they get better. Your therapist can help your family work through the difficulties to the better times ahead.