Family counseling involves looking at the family as a “system” comprised of separate, inter-related individuals. Each individual has their unique role in the family that is played out in the family dynamics.
By bringing specific family members into a counseling environment, these family dynamics can be evaluated in a trusting and open forum and with the help of a family therapist can be re-designed for healthier functioning.
Family counseling is a unique process that is used for some unique instances.
Some of the more common uses for family counseling include:
- Divorce or separation
- Child behavior problems
- Death or loss of a family member
- Illness of a family member
- Drug/Alcohol abuse by a family member
- Chronic family conflict
Family counseling can be a very useful tool for families to navigate successfully through severe emotional crises. It is often used, when necessary, in conjunction with individual counseling.
Couples counseling or therapy is often seen as different from psychotherapy, because in couples therapy the relationship is the focus of attention. All psychological problems, however, and all psychological changes involve both partner’s own unique personality (behaviors, emotions, conflicts, thought processes) and how they interact in the relationship.
Couples therapy focuses on the problems existing in the relationship between two people. But, these relationship problems always involve individual symptoms and problems, as well as the relationship conflicts. In couples therapy, the goals are to address both individual and couples issues that are negatively affecting the relationship. For example, if you suffer from too much anxiety, stress, or depression, you may bring this into the relationship. This personal struggle then becomes a relationship struggle and can cause tension and increased arguments. Also, the unique way two people’s personalities interrelate may create a unique interaction which neither has had experience. Couples therapy will involve learning how to communicate more effectively, how to listen more closely, and how to identify common life goals so you can begin to share and enjoy life together.
In general, your therapist will help you and your partner work in two global areas:
- conflict resolution, and
- relationship enhancement
We are especially sensitive to the needs of children and they are helped to understand and express their feelings, communicate openly with both parents, and adapt to new situations such as separate households and/or stepfamilies. The formerly married learn to live as single persons and as single parents, and to develop the trust necessary to form new relationships. Divorced parents are also assisted in co-parenting their children in a healthy manner.