What is family therapy?
Family therapy is a type of counseling that involves the whole family, as opposed to just one individual at a time. Mental health counseling for family therapy can look like a combination of talk therapy, play therapy, and integration of both depending on the ages of the children in the family.
Why do people come to mental health counseling as a family?
Many people decide to come to family therapy when one or more family members are struggling with depression or anxiety, or with emotional boundaries. Sometimes this looks like younger children having extreme emotional reactions of anger or sadness. Sometimes this looks like teenagers being completely disengaged from the family or falling behind in school, struggling with healthy relationships, or isolating themselves.
The idea is that even when only one person in the family is seen as having problems, oftentimes, underneath these individual problems are communication issues, boundary issues, and self-worth issues that are present in the relationships between the family members. In this way, seeing the whole family in therapy can treat individual problems by changing potential dysfunctional communication patterns occurring in the family.
How does family therapy help?
Family therapy at Legacy Counseling Services in Broken Arrow can help families move away from feeling distant, angry, resentful, or unloved by one another, and move towards understanding and appreciating each other and learning to set and accept healthy boundaries.
Even when only one person in the family is experiencing problems, family counseling can be helpful for a few reasons: 1) other people in the family can offer their strengths and support to better alleviate the problems, 2) the whole family can adjust their boundaries and communication style in a way that is more clear, flexible, and value-based, and 3) every family member will feel more understanding of themselves and one another, and more connected to one another without being overly connected.
Can family therapy really involve everyone?
YES! Family therapists are trained to see every single person in the immediate family, and sometimes even extended family. Sessions may involve different groupings of people at some times, but family therapy involves everyone at some point.
Some other reasons for families to try mental health counseling:
Even though depression, anxiety, and conflict are the primary reasons to come to family therapy, other reasons to come to therapy could be:
- When someone in the family is getting married, and there are unspoken issues or tensions between family members
- When the family is experiencing shared grief
- When the family is going through a transition and is having trouble adapting to a new job, a new stage of life, or a new family structure
- When a parent gets remarried, and the step-parent/step-child dynamic is experiencing tension
Consider family therapy at Legacy Counseling Service in Broken Arrow!
Every family functions differently, and many families may not realize when miscommunication and unhealthy boundary setting is occurring, especially if it appears that only one or two people in the family are struggling. If you or your children are experiencing problems, call today for a free 30-minute consultation with a family therapist to decide if family therapy might be right for you!