Every family is unique — nuclear families, single-parent families, blended families, and so much more. No matter what type of family you have, some challenges require outside help. Family therapy provides a safe space for family members to talk candidly about their feelings, thoughts, opinions, and struggles. Therapy allows each family member to express their thoughts.
With the assistance and leadership of a family therapist, families can understand each other in a way they may not have thought of before. Parents and children learn:
- why each family member acts the way they do
- how they best communicate
- how they can have an open, honest discussion without fear of reproach
Let us show you some of the many benefits you can achieve with family therapy.
4 BENEFITS OF FAMILY THERAPY
BENEFIT #1: EXPERT HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT
A family therapist has training and experience in situations that you may be encountering for the first time. They have the skills and knowledge you need to help your family communicate with each other. With a therapist’s help, you can resolve a conflict, deal with a transitional period such as a divorce or death in the family, and strengthen family bonds.
By creating a safe space and offering guidance, the therapist provides specific suggestions to allow each individual to learn to communicate with family members better.
In addition to resolving conflicts between family members, each individual will learn about their strengths and weaknesses. With this knowledge, family members will become better at communicating feelings, reducing stress, and preventing future conflicts.
BENEFIT #2: RESOLVE FAMILY CONFLICT
Conflict between family members is a normal part of family life. Siblings fight with each other, spouses have arguments, and anyone with close contact with the family can create stress.
There are many types of conflicts a family therapist is trained to help with. Some of the most common ones are:
- Child behavioral issues
- Death of a family member or close friend
- Depression and anxiety in individual members of the family
- Marital conflicts
- Conflicts between a child and a family member
- Substance abuse
- LGBTQ issues
These are just a few common issues that families face. A family therapist is trained in multiple types of conflicts, issues, and problems between family members and the family as a whole.
BENEFIT #3: PROVEN METHODS
When you first begin family therapy, your therapist will take an assessment of your family dynamic. They may use a questionnaire to go through your family history and your reasons for seeking therapy.
Others prefer to discuss the reasons you’re seeking therapy and let the conversation flow from there. Your therapist wants to get a full and clear picture of the family dynamic and any issues each person has within the family unit.
Sometimes, your therapist might suggest additional therapy services for family members. These additional services could include individual therapy for family members. For couples, they may suggest relationship and marriage counseling. When these methods are combined, they can help facilitate deeper relationships within families.
BENEFIT #4: CUSTOMIZED THERAPY PROGRAMS
Once you’ve done the initial consultation, your therapist will create a therapy program for your family. A therapist uses multiple techniques to help a family during therapy. Some techniques are:
- Cognitive Therapy: Helping individuals understand how they think about things can affect the way they feel emotionally.
- Play Therapy: This is for children under the age of 13. During play therapy, the therapist observes and gains insight into a child’s problems. This therapy helps the child to explore emotions and deal with unresolved trauma.
- Crisis Mitigation: The therapist guides clients through a family crisis and transitional periods such as divorce or a death in the family.
- Behavior Issues: Evaluate and replace dysfunctional behaviors by providing healthy alternatives.
These techniques encourage healthy behaviors in family members to resolve conflict or stress. By guiding a family with these techniques (and others), they can create better communication between family members. The individuals also gain valuable insight into themselves and gain confidence in communicating with others.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR FAMILY THERAPY
Now that you know how helpful family therapy can be, there are some steps you can take to prepare your family.
Everyone may not be excited to attend family therapy sessions. You can provide support and guidance before you start to help ease worries, objections, and questions about it.
Children especially may be resistant to the idea, worrying that something is wrong or that they will be judged. The best way to help them understand is by having a candid conversation and letting them know what they can expect.
- Discuss why you feel that therapy will help them individually as well as the family.
- Focus on working to find solutions and build strength for the family.
- Learn to be positive and supportive.
Engage the entire family by working together to identify issues and stressors individuals are feeling. Write these down and take them with you when meeting with the therapist. This list will help them to understand where everyone in the family is feeling stress and tension. Your list can also be the beginning of recognizing issues you weren’t aware of.
If age appropriate, encourage family members to think of issues they want to address and how they will approach them. Your therapist will help you communicate so the other person doesn’t get angry or defensive.
FIND THE RIGHT THERAPIST FOR YOUR FAMILY
Finding the right therapist for your family is important. You want to make sure they are trained in the issues you’re facing. I have been practicing marriage and family, helping families, individuals, couples, adolescents, and children face their challenges and heal from traumas. Lisa tailors specific treatments based on the needs and challenges of her patients and offers both in-person and telehealth appointments, providing the flexibility to work within each family’s schedule. Don’t be afraid to take the first step. Reach out to me at Lisa Rogers Counseling to schedule an initial appointment today, and start your journey.