Facebook and Instagram capture family life at it’s best. But those happy images can leave many feeling discontented about the state of their own family relationships. The truth is, these are simply snapshots in time. Every family experiences periods of strain and sometimes family members grow apart. Even those close to each other can struggle to connect if their communication style is explosive and confrontational. Such problems get magnified when a mental illness or substance abuse gets injected into the dynamic. Family therapy involves working with a professional who is trained to help you create healthy boundaries and connections with others, including family members.
Family Therapy With Kids
Change is constant in family relationships as members grow up and age. Therefore, at different stages, the emotional and psychological needs of the family change in tandem. These transformations can sometimes become very difficult to navigate.
New parents, strained from sleeplessness, sometimes need help to adjust to life with a new baby in the house. This is also true when an adoptive child is introduced into the mix. Similarly, time strapped young couples, balancing their careers with kids, seek family therapy to improve their parenting skills. Some toddlers or school-aged children can introduce tension in relationships between couples themselves, when they exhibit anxious behaviour, meltdowns and temper tantrums.
Marital breakdowns bring unique challenges to family life. Divorced single parents, muddling with their own emotions, may find themselves unable to cope with their teenager. And remarried couples often need help to improve the dynamics of a blended family with children from different partnerships, along with interactions with former spouses.
All these situations are much easier to manage with a therapist who understands the underlying mechanics of human emotions at different life stages.
Dealing with Teenagers
The teenage years bring specific complexities to inter-generational relationships. During this turbulent stage between childhood and adulthood, a teenager’s physical, hormonal and social growth can leave families exasperated. They are particularly influenced by peer pressure, social media and the desire to fit in. And their undeveloped prefrontal cortex leads them to take risks and sometimes make questionable decisions. Many cannot regulate themselves to cope with anxiety, stress, depression and hopelessness. That is why some teens turn to experimentation with alcohol, tobacco, drugs and unhealthy sexual habits. All of these have the potential to spiral into lifelong problems.
In some families, bickering between parents creates “triangulation” in the family system. Here, a child ends up forming an emotional alliance with one parent or the other. The child will start exhibiting his or her own emotional symptoms, acting out to distract the parents from their fighting. This can manifest itself into an eating disorder, for example, to cope with the internalized anxiety. In such instances, we would assign one therapist to work with the parents and another to the child for one-on-one help. Both therapists team up to ensure the entire family heals and reaches harmony.
Family Therapy for Adult Relationships
Children are not the only catalyst for family stress. Caring for the elderly can bring bitter dissensions to an otherwise harmonious household. Parents, who have raised and advised you all their lives, may not be ready for role reversals. Family therapy helps you with strategies to communicate respectfully and non-condescendingly with aging parents.
Caregivers with parents suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s carry extremely heavy burdens. Consequently, they require strong support from other family members. Siblings must often come together to share the caregiving. Yet for many families, differences of opinion and historical rifts make this an extremely difficult exercise. Family therapy can provide vital intervention during this time to allow family members to negotiate and move forward in unison.
How Does Family Therapy Work?
With such a vast array of constellations seeking family therapy, clinicians must first assess each situation before prescribing a therapy plan. System’s Based Family Therapy is a popular form of counselling developed by Murray Bowen in the 1950s. He considered families an entity with many moving parts that contribute to the larger dynamic. Changes in one section affect the overall pattern of communication and behaviour of the unit. For example, a mother and son in therapy for their conflicts will discover that their improved communication shifts the interactive style of the entire family. This results in reduced tensions all around with everyone becoming a little gentler with one another.
Emotion Focused Family Therapy is another popular approach used by therapists. It focuses on how emotions underscore family connections and makes caregivers “emotion coaches” to their loved ones.
Transformational Systemic Therapy (STST), also known as the Satir method, is designed to improve communication within the family structure by looking at individual behaviour, feelings and perspectives as they relate to that person’s position within the family.
At Beaches Therapy Group, our trained therapists can tap into these and numerous other approaches to help you. We acknowledge and support each family member to heal dysfunctional patterns which undermine the health and happiness of your unit.
Seeking Family Therapy
Nobody likes to publicize deep personal problems, like strife in the family, on social media. If they did, you would see that your family is like millions of others. Relationships are neither neat, perfect nor easy all the time. And families do not arrive packaged with operating instructions. Sometimes, professional intervention helps.
Unresolved problems accumulate like layers of silt. Over time, they become deep rooted with the potential to span generations. Family units become disconnected when individuals do not discuss, understand or deal with their emotions and feelings. When left to escalate, estrangement sets in. This downward spiral is unnecessary and avoidable.
Contacting us for help is not a sign of weakness; rather, it is the first courageous step in your journey to healing. Beach Therapy Group has helped hundreds of families resolve festering problems. We have healed emotional wounds and prevented needless grief. We are compassionate, qualified and skilled to give your family the personalized attention you need.
The first consultation with us is always free and will be scheduled over the phone. It will help us understand your situation and allow us to formulate a customized therapeutic plan for you. Your therapist will explain the process and we encourage you to ask as many questions as possible to alleviate any doubt that we are the right team for you.
Fees for Family Therapy
Therapy fees are one reason why many families avoid seeking help. And we understand this, completely.
First, our blogs, authored by professionally trained therapists, are available for free. We publish them regularly and feature topics that are useful for individuals, couples and families. We encourage you to visit our site often. In many cases, this information will help you understand what you are experiencing. However, our blogs do not constitute professional advice, diagnosis, treatment or therapy. You must always consult with a physician, psychologist or qualified mental health provider to professionally direct your physical, mental and emotional health.
Often, a few targeted sessions with a therapist can arm you with strategies to help you for the rest of your life. Here is how we charge for our time and we are happy to have a frank and open discussion with you about this. We never keep you in therapy for longer than you need and our clients attest to this professionalism.
Laura Devlin is an experienced Registered Psychological Associate with over 10 years experience, and a co-owner at Beaches Therapy Group. We have helped hundreds of families just like yours. Contact us to discover how our therapy sessions are a worthwhile investment towards happy and healthy relationships.