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As a society, we’ve come a long way with de-stigmatizing mental health issues, but we still have room to grow. Therapy can help anyone and everyone. Family therapy specifically strengthens bonds and resolves issues before they become overwhelming.
Reasons to Consider Family Therapy
There’s never a wrong time to seek family counseling, but it is especially beneficial in certain situations. These include, but are not limited to, divorce, financial hardship and the death of a loved one.
If anyone in your family is dealing with mental health issues, family counseling may be beneficial. Mental health issues that could affect your family include substance abuse, depression, chronic illness, behavioral problems or eating disorders. Issues like addiction affect the entire family almost as much as they affect the individual.
When one person is struggling with an issue, those who are closest to that person are often hurt the most. This is why it is crucial to work on these important relationships, and it’s also why it’s complicated. But there are good reasons to invest the effort into mending issues with the help of a professional counselor. Here are a few:
- The counselor can act as a buffer between the person struggling and their family, so they feel more comfortable sharing
- The afflicted person will be tasked with sharing recovery goals with his or her family, and this will add a level of accountability
- You can work through older issues for a deeper level of healing
- You’ll learn to handle the problems that are likely to arise so that you can help your loved one through them
This structural problem-solving approach allows families to become more productive by working together. Not only does this strengthen the family unit, but it can build confidence in the person who was struggling. Family therapy gives families the opportunity to heal together.
Benefits of Family Therapy
Family counseling’s goal is to promote understanding and collaboration among family members. In the end, they should be able to work together to solve problems. The following are common benefits that most families experience from counseling.
When you grow up in close quarters, it can be difficult to understand boundaries like personal space and privacy. This is especially true for parents of teenagers who have trouble transitioning in their relationship. But it can also be true for siblings who are either very close or at each other’s throats. Boundaries are an important topic for any family. If there are other issues at play, boundaries become even more important.
As adults, we like to think we’ve mastered this communication thing. I mean, we have been talking for most of our lives. But communication is difficult, and we may even be passing our own issues on to our children. It helps to get a third-party’s advice on how to communicate without hurting anyone’s feelings.
Better conflict management skills
Conflicts are inevitable in any family. Family therapy sessions can help every family member communicate better to avoid conflicts. It can also help everyone to better communicate once conflicts arise. An argument can escalate, or it can become productive. The outcome will depend on your conflict management skills.
In family counseling, you’ll learn how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Once you can understand why your brother, mother, father or sister does something, you can handle it with more compassion.
Instead of focusing on mental health stigmas, think of therapy as a way to maintain a healthy relationship with your family. You’ll learn communication skills that will help in all areas of your life. You’ll also learn how to work together as a family to solve problems.
Family therapists help families get to the root of their issues while facilitating healing for each family member.
Families struggle with many things, including substance abuse, addiction, mental health issues and the death of a loved one. But regardless of what you’re struggling with, family therapy can benefit everyone.
If your family is dealing with a seemingly-insurmountable issue, family therapy can help. Even if you merely want to communicate better, family therapy can help.
Check with your insurance company to find out what kind of counseling is covered by your plan. Next, make an appointment that works with everyone’s schedule and start tackling your family’s problems one by one.
Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict and alcoholic who has been clean and sober for over five years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.
Photo credits: Mojitos & Munchkins