What is Family Counseling?
Family counseling is a way in which families can improve their communication and enhance familial bonds. This type of therapy focuses on dysfunction in the family as a unit, not in the dysfunction of any one member of the family.
When families participate in family counseling, they take part in family sessions as a group and also may take part in sessions individually. In the family session, the therapist tries to focus on the strengths each member brings to the group dynamic. In individual sessions, the focus is on the family dysfunction, not the individual’s.
Issues that often bring families to counseling include:
- Mental health disorders in the family
- Trauma such as death or chronic diagnosis
- Significant changes in a family
- Illness in one member or developmental delays in a child
- New marriages
Family counseling is not limited to biological or core members of a family. Friends, stepparents, and extended relatives often also take part.
The Benefits of Family Therapy
The benefits of family therapy are extensive, and they can include but are not limited to:
- Learning healthier boundaries
- Enhancing communication
- Enhancing bonds
- Increased health and wellness
- Less conflict
- Better conflict resolution skills
After taking part in family counseling, families may find they are much better at resolving conflicts and dealing with crises. The goal in any family counseling is to make that quality of life for the family improves as a whole.
Your Family Therapy Session
Since every family is one of a kind, the structure of family counseling may vary from family to family. That being said, family counseling will often start with an introductory session. In this session, the therapist will take time to get to know the members of the family as well as the issues facing the family. In the sessions that follow the therapist will help the family identify triggers and develop coping mechanisms. Depending on what the family is dealing with, families may have as few as 5 sessions or as many as 20.
Family therapy can also include:
- Familiarizing the family with their strengths
- Identifying where communication is not working
- Exploring family dynamics
Everyone taking part in family counseling should know that therapy is never about taking sides in a conflict. A therapist is also not there to confirm someone’s opinions or point of view on the family dynamic. The ultimate goal is to improve the family dynamic and provide a safe space for everyone. Contact us today if you would like to explore your family counseling options.