Families are complicated. They just are. And of course they are. People as individuals are complex as it is, so when combining complex, unique individuals into a unit there is bound to be challenge and struggle at some point. On top of this, the world is complicated. When external forces interrupt the family unit, it is going to affect each individual differently. Whether the family is dealing with an internal issue or reacting to external one, they are an interconnected system, with each component (person) directly infusing the overall system. Therefore, family counseling is an incredibly beneficial resource that can be utilized to assist the system towards more connected and supportive functioning.
What does a family therapist do?
Common amongst peoples' reservations about family counseling is the belief that the therapist is going to take sides, place blame, judge you, and/or criticize you for what you are doing wrong. Inviting an outside person into the family can be a vulnerable experience so of course one might have some apprehension. The role of the family therapist, however, is not one to intervene in such a way.
Successful family counseling provides an in depth look at your unit's functioning, allowing you to recognize what is working and what is not, before exploring how changes can be made.
As your family's therapist, I act as a mediator to allow each member to authentically speak their experience and to truly hear that of the other family members. I act as an illustrator, highlighting current patterns that may be interrupting the family's goal(s). I act as a container, holding the space for the family to work through their struggle and join together in the way they are seeking.
Who could benefit from family counseling?
- parental relational conflict
- siblings/family member conflict
- a child or teen with behavior problems
- an LGBT+ family member experiencing struggle
- a family member struggling with substance abuse, an eating disorder, or a long-term illness, such as severe depression or cancer.
- a major transition, including a big move, combining families, losing a loved one, job or school transitions, etc.