Many people are surprised to hear about how many options are available for family counseling. A family therapist is a mental health professional who works to help families communicate. Different households will have different conflicts to address, and a therapist helps mediate.
Some of the potential benefits of family therapy include:
- Clearer communication in the household
- Better paths to conflict resolution
- Tools for stress management
- Better understanding of each other
- Stronger overall support network
A family therapist will create a treatment plan that addresses your household's unique conflicts and concerns.
What a Family Therapist Does During Sessions
Unlike individual therapy, family therapy is a type of counseling that involves multiple people. While your therapist might take some time to speak to individuals, the bulk of the sessions will be conducted with all participants present.
If you see a therapist as an individual, you may be able to have them connect to your family therapist. That way, they can send along any relevant records regarding your mental health and circumstances.
The content of the sessions will be tailored to the client's specific needs. For example, a family with multiple young children will have different needs than a family made up of adults.
Each session is usually 45 to 60 minutes long. In many cases, your family therapist will create a plan with a specific number of sessions. You'll use each session to work toward goals of conflict resolution, communication, and education.
Things Your Therapist Will Do
One of the biggest roles of a family therapist is to create an environment that facilitates communication. That means that all family members need to feel comfortable speaking honestly. If there is tension between family members, your therapist will act as a mediator. All sides will have a chance to be heard.
Family therapy is not a place for fighting, judgment, or guilt. It is a place where your family will take vital steps toward supporting each other. For many clients, the therapy sessions are a key to healing their familial relationships.
Your family therapist might help you explore things such as:
- How your family approaches conflict and how conflict can be better managed
- How people can express their emotions productively and supportively
- How the family structure impacts your individual relationships
- How responsibility is divided and whether that responsibility can be better distributed
- How household rules and expectations may contribute to conflict
- Which strengths your family already has
- Areas in which your family can improve, such as communication or handling stress
Common Reasons for Family Therapy
There are many reasons why a household might seek out a family therapist. In fact, many sources of household tension can be worked on in therapy sessions.
Perhaps most importantly, you do not need an "emergency" to go to family therapy. Your family therapist's job is to help your household function more effectively and happily. There's no shame in wanting an expert's opinion on how to better your life.
Sometimes family therapy is done to address a specific conflict or problem. For example, spouses might work on communication or financial issues. Parents might want to learn how to connect better with struggling children. It's also common for parents to seek help mediating conflict between their own children.
As Part of a Treatment Plan
There may be family therapy sessions after a family member is diagnosed with an illness like bipolar disorder. In this case, the focus will be on understanding the diagnosis and providing the necessary support. The same goes for families of addicts who are finishing a stay in rehab.
In addition, household members might seek family therapy even if they aren't a "traditional" unit. For example, a group of three adult roommates might seek family therapy, especially if they're close friends.
Family therapy is an option when there is any source of grief, stress, or conflict in your house. No matter the issue, a family therapist can create the environment that's needed to heal. We here at Greene Psychology Group can help you schedule an appointment today.