Introduction to Family Counseling
Family counseling or family therapy is a kind of treatment that is designed to deal with specific issues that affect the healthy functioning of a family. Family counselors are trained to help families through difficult times like major transitions, or when there are behavioral or mental health problems in members of the family.
Family counseling approaches vary, but most employ a number of different exercises and techniques from behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, interpersonal therapy, and other common types of individual therapy. As with other types of treatment, the specifics of the problems that the family is facing will determine the actual course of treatment and the strategies that will be used.
Family therapy is provided by a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) in a solution-focused, short-term mode. Typically meetings last less than an hour and are usually held once a week.
What are the Benefits of Family Therapy?
One of the most common reasons why families seek therapy is for emotional or behavioral problems in children, and because the issues children have don’t exist in a vacuum, but rather in the context of the family as a whole, they always have to be addressed within the context of the family in order to get the best results.
It’s important to understand that when it comes to family therapy, the term ‘family’ doesn’t just mean blood relatives or even family members in the same household, but it can refer to anyone who has a long-term supportive role in someone’s life.
The Benefits of Family Counseling Include:
- Improved understanding of healthy boundaries and family dynamics
- Enhanced communication and improved problem solving
- Deeper empathy and reduced conflict
- Better anger management skills
On a more specific level, family counseling can improve the family relationships in the following ways:
- Assisting members of the family to forgive each other and create a supportive environment
- Resolving conflicts and bringing back family members who have been isolated
- Encouraging honesty and instilling trust among members of the family
- Eliminating sources of stress and tension within the family
- Helping the family come together after a crisis
Any time families go through a stressful experience that could possibly strain relationships, they could benefit from therapy. Whether it’s earth-shattering, life-changing experiences like the death of a loved one, divorce, or financial hardship where the family needs help to get back on track after taking a hard blow, or if it’s something less severe (everyday issues like behavioral or communication issues in children or adolescents) that needs attention in order to help the family avoid getting off track, counseling is always a good option.
Family therapy is also beneficial when it comes to treating mental health concerns like chronic illness, mental health issues, substance abuse, or food issues that have an effect on the family as a whole
The goal of family therapy is to promote understanding and communication among family members so that they can work together to solve the problems of one or more individuals in that family. This type of therapy is unique in that all problems are viewed as being part of the complex family system rather than individual issues, and addresses them as such.