What Really Happens in Family Therapy?
As an individual and family therapist, I’ve had lots of parents call my office in distress looking for help but not knowing what to expect from counseling. “Do I bring my problem child in first” “Does dad have to be there too?” Are just a few of the questions I receive when a parent first starts talking to me. The unknown can be scary, anxiety is a natural response for many when they don’t know what to expect. Common fears can range from worry that you and your family will be in therapy forever, or a child may share his/her account of a heated argument that until now has been kept quiet. Or even worse you will be blamed for current problems.
Here are some things that will happen in family therapy sessions, and some that won’t:
1. We won’t be targeting one individual as, ‘”the problem”
A family is a system, much like a mobile where each family member plays a role to keep the mobile spinning. Sure one person can act out, but how are the other members of the family responding to keep the mobile going? Currently you might be experiencing chaos but its organized chaos that keeps your family mobile spinning or in balance. Families get caught in negative patterns, and it is our job in therapy to work together to help identify, and replace negative patterns or cycles.
2. We will identify negative communication problems that are damaging current relationships, and we will work to find solutions
Work is a key word in helping you and your family achieve desired therapeutic goals. Families come into counseling in distress, sometimes years of poor communication or even generations of communication issues are present. What I won’t allow is for you to continue such patterns during our time together. Instead, I will gently interrupt to provide feedback, suggest reflection to check for understanding and help you in the here and now learn effective communication skills.
Don’t let the unknown stop you
Don’t let a previous bad therapy experience or fear of the unknown stop you from making the call to start family counseling. You have the insight that your family needs help, use this insight and make a call to our office to help your family today.