No one exists in a vacuum. Even if I am working with an individual, as a Marital and Family Therapist, I will always have in mind the broader system.
Ideally, the family system is a source of support, the people you turn to when faced with the harshness of the world. Unfortunately, even healthy families face problems that may be too hard to solve without the help of a professional.
Family Therapists treat such issues as depression, anxiety, marital conflict, child behavioral issues, addictions, eating disorders, severe mental illness, divorce/separation, blended families and parenting difficulties. Sometimes adults have problems with their families of origin, either parents or siblings. Family therapy is often problem centered, solution focused and brief.
Here is what you can expect from working with me in family therapy.
- A session will include as many family members as are impacted by the problem and can be a part of the solution. Generally, a child who exhibits problematic behaviors is least able to make necessary changes, however, changes in others will often bring about change in the child and improvement in the system as a whole.
- I will try to get to know each family member and make sure everyone is comfortable with and understands the process. I will ask about what works well in the family to determine the family’s strengths.
- I will take a complete history, not just of the family but will also gather factual information about a previous generation. This is one of my most helpful tools as I work with a family because family problems often develop over several generations.
- Everyone will have a chance to share their view of the problem. I will ask what has already been tried to solve the problem and what the outcome was. Just because a solution did not work, does not mean it was not a good solution. Sometimes the family gave up too soon when results were not immediate. We’ll talk and see if the solution was viable but just needs more time, or needs to be adjusted a bit.
- Once we have identified a problem, we will brainstorm about solutions that have not yet been tried. I am a creative, “think outside the box” person, so I am likely to come up with new ideas.
- We will develop a plan for the family to carry out and will continue to evaluate the plan and make modifications if needed.
We do not live in a culture that supports families. There are more pressures than ever making it difficult for families to function. Some of these challenges have not been encountered by previous generations. Families today are pioneers in this new world of many and rapid changes. Family therapy can be a valuable investment in navigating our new world.
If your family is struggling, I can offer a telephone consultation to see if Family Therapy can help.