Families are often regarded as the most valuable support systems. However, they still have their share of difficulties and problems, most of which should be handled comprehensively to avert a crisis. With different families using different methods to deal with such problems, family counseling and therapy is highly recommended.
Whether your family is experiencing issues relating to divorce, drug addiction, financial instability, lack of communication, or the passing away of a loved one, family counseling ensures that comprehensive solutions that address all concerns are provided and that bonds are renewed.
When Should You Get Family Counseling?
Family counseling recognizes that problems within the family affect a number of people and not just one person. It therefore recommends that solutions to family problems must involve all members of the family as opposed to addressing problems on an individual basis.
Family therapy understands that problems within the family unit impact several people, which means that everybody needs to work together to support the member of the family with the problem. Problems with a member of the family could indicate a larger family problem.
Treating only the person with the problem is similar to treating the symptoms of a particular disease without actually addressing the disease. Family therapy tends to be more solution-oriented than individual therapy, and is usually more specific and shorter, with properly defined end goals.
What Happens in Family Counseling Sessions?
In family counseling, the therapist meets with the member of the family with the problem along with other members of the family. Once the family has attended a couple of counseling sessions, the therapist can determine the treatment therapy that will be most suitable.
For instance, the therapist may meet a teenager with a drug problem and invite and older sibling that may have also gone through similar problems. The guidance that the older sibling can provide might be actually more powerful than the words of the therapist.
Therapists have many different approaches to treatment at their disposal. Today, a combination of therapies can be used. This means that a person with an alcohol problem for instance, can have individual therapy sessions, receive family therapy, and work with an organization such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
What Can You Expect from Family Counseling?
Here are 3 things that you can expect from family therapy:
Discomfort: Talking about deep-seated issues within the family when the family members involved are present can be uncomfortable. This is to be expected and perfectly natural especially if your family loves avoiding conflict. If your family tends to seep things under the rug, addressing things more directly will feel different. However, everything will start feeling more comfortable and natural and family members will start seeing the benefits of discussing issues before they turn to anger or resentment.
Relief: Discussing your feelings and thoughts and gaining some resolutions to conflicts within the family unit provides relief to most people. If you are unable to gain resolutions, personal insight and clarity about the family members and yourself are still enough to bring relief too. In some instances, dynamic or behavioral changes within the family can result too.
Confidentiality: In family counseling there are a few limits to confidentiality that you will be informed of before you start, but otherwise all the information shared in the counseling session is strictly confidential. Counselors value the privacy of their clients and are bound to strict ethical guidelines pertaining to confidentiality so that family members can feel safe opening up and sharing their concerns.
What Problems Does Family Therapy Help with?
Family therapy and counseling has been shown to be effective in the treatment of problems such as:
– Drug Abuse
Family counseling also helps solve conflicts among members of the family and teaches them better approaches to handling problems.
9 Family Counseling Benefits
Outlined below are the 9 family counseling benefits and how a family counselor is able to enhance the overall well-being of the family unit.
1. Improving Communication Within the Family Unit
Family members often find it very hard to be open to one another. The unfortunate consequence of this is that it tends to create a disconnect and distance between members of the family, which paves the way for much bigger problems down the road. A family counselor can help the members of the family understand their roles within the family, and show them how beneficial honest and open communication can be.
If a family member is suffering from an addiction, all the members of the family would probably be going through their own processes about this and have feelings of loss that can easily destabilize the cohesion of the family unit. A counselling session involving all members of the family helps ‘break the ice’ and helps them understand each other positively without feelings of resentment or conflict.
2. Strengthening Bonds and Enhancing Relationships
Family members and especially siblings often have conflicts and depending on their nature they can harm the cohesiveness of the family unit if left unchecked. Family members may develop feelings of jealousy towards each other or could be fighting for attention among other things. Parents might not understand such issues or may understate their significance, which may result in unresolved feelings.
Family counseling can help you understand your children or the members of your family better and help you learn how to enhance the cohesiveness of the family unit. Bringing the family members with the rivalries along for the session will help them understand one another and settle any differences that they may have. This is the most important of the 9 family counseling benefits.
3. Building Self-Esteem
A healthy self-esteem is important if you want to be able to cope well in the community and coping well with major life challenges too. The vast majority of people that live or grow with a low self-esteem are vulnerable to health problems, interpersonal problems, and peer influence. If parents have a low self-esteem, it is highly likely that the children will also suffer from the same.
A family counseling session with an experienced family therapist can help restore self-esteem and help both children and parents alike to know, understand, and appreciate each other better, which will help them feel better about themselves and their value within the community. The family unit will thus have a more positive outlook on life hence increase their chances of success in life.
4. Increases the Happiness Level Within the Family
In this digital age of smart entertainment systems and devices, many people turn to gadgets such as smartphones, televisions, and tablets, when stressed or faced with a problem. However, this is only as good as hiding or running away from problems and only leaves other family members feeling stressed or at least concerned.
Family counseling helps you understand how to cope with particular problems and face them head on without having to turn a blind eye to the rest of the family, which ensures that you never have a perennially unhappy family.
5. Helps When Dealing with Divorce
Divorce is one of the major problems that affects the family unit. While divorce might be justified in some instances such as infidelity, others divorce just because they are no longer able to understand each other and have been disconnected for too long. This could be either due to financial stresses, or the piling up of problems and a reluctance to understand each other.
Family counseling can help save the family unit in case a marriage is headed for divorce. The counselor can identify the possible causes of the conflicts and misunderstandings within the family and help resolve them. If a partner in the marriage still wishes to proceed with the divorce, the counselor prepares all members of the family to accept the situation and help them adjust in a good way.
6. It Promotes Physical and Mental Health
Being at peace and relaxed is important for your physical and mental well-being. However, peace comes when everybody understands each other and are ready to work as a team. All members of the family will be at harmony is there is always somebody to listen to problems and possibly even provide solutions.
Family counseling helps people understand their children and spouses better, helps identify problems within the family better, and helps provide approaches for handling those problems in the most suitable way, which promotes physical and mental health.
7. It Helps Build a Successful Marriage and Family
Children usually pick up beliefs and messages based on what they see with their parents, friends, or even television. Marriage counselors and family therapists relate this to the numerous divorce rates and family breakups of recent times. However, families that have sessions with professional counselors before the problems grew out of control are able to address them early on and reconnect.
8. It Provides a Plan of Action When It Comes to Resolving Issues
If you attempt to deal with issues affecting your family on your own, you might not know where to start. Simply stating that you will start treating each other with more respect does little to change the situation. It is important to have a plan of action when it comes to resolving problems within the family and family counseling gives you exactly that.
9. It Helps You Learn How to Deal with Anger
Most people don’t really know what is the best way to handle their feelings of anger and often deal with it by saying some hurtful things to the people closest to them who are their family members. If this becomes an issue, it must never be ignored. Family counseling provides the perfect platform for members of the family to discuss the feelings of anger and teaches the proper mechanisms for coping with and handling them as opposed to just lashing out.
The Bottom Line
Families often encounter problems that may become messy if none of the family members know how best to address them. With the right experience and training on how to deal with family problems, it is easy to deal with problems within the family unit without causing ongoing distress within the family. The family unit will be able to develop new and better ways of relating to each other.
Family counseling is the best way to improve cohesion within the family unit. It is quite beneficial irrespective of the age or type of family. It starts with assessing the problem and family structure and then implementing strategies to make changes within the family. If you would like to enjoy the 9 family counseling benefits discussed here, contact a professional counselor/therapist.