Our family relationships are some of the most influential and important relationships we have, and sometimes the most complex and challenging. We learn a lot of what we know from our family of origin as far as how to navigate the world, how to interact with people, and how to engage in relationships. Our family lives are often the center of our universe, our focus, and our safe place to be. Our family lives can be some of the greatest joys of our lives, as well as some of the most difficult and even sometimes painful. Relationships are very rewarding and give us so much context in our lives, however, we all know that having relationships means that there will be conflict. Family relationships are no different. Just because we are family doesn’t mean that things are always smooth sailing, in fact, our family relationships can be some of the most conflicted relationships in our lives at times.
A family is a system and like any system, it is only as healthy as the individual parts that make the system healthy and run effectively. There are times when parts of the system are not functioning effectively, and this means that the overall health of the system is affected. Life circumstances and change also affect the health of the system. When we improve the health of the parts by adding tools and strategies, we improve the ability of the system to function well. As we know, mental health is an integral part of our overall health and well-being as individuals, likewise, our family lives and the mental well-being of the family as a whole is just as important.
Family therapy can be incredibly helpful for addressing many issues that arise in families including:
· difficulty communicating or expressing emotions
· Conflicts between siblings
· Managing mental health concerns within the family
· inconsistent parenting
· marital problems
· Developing a functional and healthy relationship following a divorce
· Adapting to a major change
· Dealing with a chronic illness or death in the family
So how does family therapy work? Just as with individual therapy or couples therapy, family therapy is helpful and can be a safe place for families to improve their insight and awareness of thoughts, feelings, and behavioral patterns. Family sessions would be held weekly for 50 minutes. Initially, we would want to work on understanding how the system is functioning and setting some goals for improvement. Family therapy is an active process and requires active engagement from all family members, though this can be challenging at first and can take some time. It is important that the family members feel comfortable with the therapist, so a good fit is key. There can be sometimes weekly tasks that can be suggested to practice skills between sessions.
If you are hoping for a healthier, more positive, and fulfilling family life, think about scheduling a free 30-minute consultation. Taking the next best step for your family will be very much worth it! www.collaborativecounselinguthah.com, or call(801)997-9098
Robyn Urry Anderson, LCSW, MSW