What is Family Counseling?

Family counseling is a form of therapeutic intervention that addresses the communication skills, bonds, and tenor of a family or group. Sometimes, families seek out counseling due to dysfunction in a family, but sometimes families partake in this type of counseling in order to deal with mental illness in one member of the family. While family counseling may be necessary as a supplement to the treatment of an individual in the family, the focus of family counseling is on the group dynamic and not that individual.

Family counseling often takes what is called a “strengths-based” approach. This means that each session focuses on the assets each member of the family brings to the group.

Reasons for seeking family therapy might include:

  • A mental health condition in a member of the family
  • Experiencing trauma, such as the death of a family member
  • Dramatic life changes, such as the incarceration of a family member
  • A high conflict dynamic in the family
  • Developmental delays or chronic condition in a family member
  • New marriages or relationships

Family counseling can include those who are not biological members of a family. Oftentimes, friends and stepparents, for example, are considered part of the family unit.

Family Therapy – Its Benefits

The benefits a family can get from participating in family therapy can include:

  • Healthier boundaries
  • Improved health and wellness
  • Reduced conflict
  • Improved conflict resolution and communication skills
  • Enhanced trust
  • Stronger bonds

After participating in family therapy, families often have better ways to deal with triggers and traumas moving forward. The ultimate goal and benefit of these sessions is to improve everyone’s quality of life in a family or home. Family therapy can take time, and all members of the family need to remain committed to the process for its duration.

The Basics of a Family Therapy Session

Families may want to know what happens in a family therapy session before participating in their first session or making a decision as to whether or not family therapy is right for them.

The first session will serve as a “getting to know you” session. Your therapist will ask questions, seeking to gain an understanding of the overall dynamic and your reasons for participating in therapy. Once the therapist has a grasp of these essential issues, they will spend the next sessions helping the members of a family build better coping mechanisms and communication skills. Family therapy can last just a handful of sessions or can run up to 20 or more sessions. It all depends on the particular dynamic and situation in a family.

In family therapy you may explore:

  • Your strengths as a family
  • Your communication styles
  • The family dynamic
  • The coping mechanisms in your family

Keep in mind that a trained therapist does not “take sides.” Anyone participating in family therapy can rest assured that they will not be vilified in session by a therapist. The therapist’s goal is to provide a safe environment without judgment for everyone in a family. Contact us today to discuss your family therapy options.