Why are we arguing with each other? Or, why can’t we talk to each other?
Has your family lost a loved one recently?
Is someone in your family struggling with substance abuse?
Is your family reeling from the fallout of divorce?
Is your family struggling to adjust to some typical life transitions, like relocating, children growing older, graduating from high school?
Every family goes through difficult times.
Some of these times will be traumatic and feel like you’ll never recover, such as a death, divorce, or a loved one with substance abuse. Death can be particularly traumatic for a family. Whether it’s due to illness, an accident, or old age, loosing a loved one can be very hard to accept. I will help you through the grieving process. I am here to gently guide you through your pain with compassion and empathy.
Divorce can feel much like a death and families need a time of grieving when this happens. Coming together, mom and the kids, dad and kids, whatever your family now is, grieving what you were, and moving on to your family’s new configuration is an important step in healing.
A family member with a substance abuse problem is frustrating, sad, and impossible to understand. I will help you set boundaries with this loved one and teach you about substance abuse. Knowing what is enabling and what is loving and supportive is important. Families often want to help their loved one with this problem and don’t know the difference between healthy boundaries and enabling.
Many other difficult times will be normal family adjustments to transitions that life brings, like children growing up, job changes, moves, graduations, even weddings.
Even the normal life transitions have loss attached to them, and can create tension or arguing, or even silence in a family. For example, high school graduation tends to bring both ends of the emotional spectrum for families. Weddings, too, can be stressful and sad while also being beautiful and happy. Moving a family is loaded with excitement and sadness. Leaving friends, schools, favorite places and starting over is not easy. All of these “normal” life events can be quite stressful. I will work with your whole family to feel and function better.
You may be wondering…does everyone in the family need to participate in family counseling?
Yes, depending on the problem. During our phone consultation, I will determine this. Some problems are best dealt with in couple’s therapy. The state of your marriage has a profound impact on your children, and marital therapy may be the recommended treatment. I will provide professional guidance with this. However, some problems in families are improved and even resolved when every voice in the family has an opportunity to be heard. I will facilitate this process by all of you coming together and each person will be asked to tell us his/her perceptions. It’s amazing what we learn from each other when we listen. I will help you construct a plan for a healthier family.
What if someone in my family doesn’t want to participate?
Ask them to please come. Tell them that you value their opinion and that hearing their perception of the problem is helpful. Everyone in the family has an important contribution to understanding and resolving the problem. Every voice in a family has value. If you are still met with resistance, tell them that the therapist needs them to come, because I do. But don’t let a reluctant family member hold back change. Often, when part of the family begins therapy, the others will become curious, and want to come, too.
You may be wondering…will our family problems get worse if we go the counseling?
Unlikely. There is a much greater chance your family will get better with counseling. I provide a safe, empathetic and compassionate environment with some guidelines that allows everyone to be heard. I will facilitate this process by asking each person to talk about his or her perceptions of the problem and everyone else will listen. I will teach you ways to communicate more effectively with one another. I will also point out destructive patterns in your family and recommend healthier ways of interacting. Sometimes in counseling something is said that doesn’t feel good to someone. I will address this, talk about why it doesn’t feel good and help find a resolution. Sometimes resolution is to respectfully disagree. Overall, I believe counseling will be a good experience for your family.
You may be wondering… Is family counseling expensive and time consuming?
The effects of family counseling can be life changing. Hearing from everyone – how they feel and what they would like to differently – gives your family a chance to make changes. Family counseling is an investment in your relationships with one another and each of you as individuals. I am a trained, experienced therapist available to help your family.