Some families come to therapy after a crisis like serious illness or loss of a significant family member; some come for help in dealing with a strained relationships within the family and many others come to learn how to cope and restore peace when one or more of the members are dealing with drug/ alcohol problems, eating disorders or any other addictive or compulsive behavior. Any significant change in a family system creates new thoughts, feelings , expectations and obstacles. With a lot of change and increased stress, communication breaks down much quicker resulting in more anger, blame, misunderstandings, and frustration. If I am seeing a young adult, or teenager I often will ask parents or family members to come in so I can facilitate better understanding. It can also be very helpful to hear from those closest to my client. Most of the work I do with families is helping them learn the skills to communicate more effectively with each other in a way that results in more understanding and respect and less blame and hurt.
There is a psychological principle which states that people are usually doing the best they can. I tend to agree with that principle for this simple reason – If they could do better, why wouldn’t they be? That in no way means that I also don’t believe that people need to look honestly at themselves and how they are effecting others. If people want to see improvements in the way the family relates and acts they must be willing to see their role and be open to making some changes themselves. There are many different types of family therapy and therapy goals, which are determined after meeting and getting to know everyone and the issues at hand. When there are children involved, I often use more creative approaches to facilitate communication. Family therapy is usually booked for longer sessions and the length of therapy tends to be shorter in duration. Often families will come for a few sessions giving them enough to think about and work on for awhile and will come back again when they are ready to continue. If you have any more questions feel free to email me.