Have you ever looked at another family and thought, “That family seems so perfect! I wish my family was this happy and perfect!” All too often, it can be so easy to compare our own families to what appears to be the “perfect family” dynamic in another family. However, below the surface and the persona that some families may portray to the rest of the world, most families are complex and there are a number of common family problems and issues that may be present that may not be apparent from the outside.
Some of the most common problems that families face include, but are not limited to:
- Divorce and break-ups
- Custody battles and visitation between two parents
- Blended family dynamics (including stepchildren, stepsiblings, and half-siblings)
- Trauma and abuse
- Parenting challenges
- Issues between siblings (e.g. rivalry, nepotism,
- Illness and death
From all of these problems, a number of on-going issues and conflicts can arise that may require the assistance of some professional help from a therapist. While therapy for a specific individual is always beneficial to work through personal issues this individual may have going on, both surrounding his or her family, but also in other areas of his or her life, family therapy can be even more beneficial when it comes to working through some of the problems the family may experience together.
What is Family therapy?
Family therapy is similar to group therapy or couples therapy, except that all of the relevant and respective family members will be present. It’s through family therapy sessions that you have an outside, third-party professional who can help serve as a mediator and guide for discussion. A family therapist will do his or her best to ensure that everyone in the family is given the opportunity to speak and be heard, as well as maintaining a certain level of order and respectful behavior amongst family members. These are things that can often be missing outside of the family therapy sessions and serve as road blocks towards progressing towards resolving conflicts and problems within the family.
Conflicts in most relationships, including families, arise when there’s a lack of healthy communication that allows for individuals within the family to assert themselves, address the issue, seek to come to a compromising solution, and move forward. During a family therapy session, families will be able to address the problems they face head-on and be in a safe place to express how they feel and what it is that they want to feel better and move forward.
In addition to conflict-resolution, family therapy sessions can also help provide families the opportunity to identify and develop core values and goals for communicating and moving forward together in a loving, healthy manner. This can be helpful for families to be able to move on and learn from the experience and avoid having any on-going issues that go unattended.
Family therapy is typically a short-term form of care and involves as many relevant family members that are willing to participate. Once the problems have been identified and addressed through the family therapy sessions, this can often lead to a great deal of progress for one’s own individual therapy and care. Problems among the family that may not be resolved can pose a roadblock and, depending on the nature of the problem, may even be the root cause to a number of other mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety. Being able to work through some of the problems the family is experiencing by going through some family therapy sessions will help to address those issues head on and allow both individuals and families learn to cope with stress and conflict and move forward in developing healthy relationships within the family, as well as outside of the family.
If you or someone you know may benefit from family therapy and counseling, please feel free to contact Family Therapist, Caree Brown at (925) 943-6764 or by e-mail. You can schedule an appointment to come in and meet with Caree individually and discuss any common family problems you may be experiencing. She can assist you in putting together a plan of approach to get your family on board for a family therapy session.