Family counseling or family therapy is focused on improving the dynamics and functionality of a family unit. Family therapy allows the group to communicate openly, address and resolve conflict, and strengthen internal relationships. Although family therapy can be extremely beneficial in strengthening a family, there are certain times when it is absolutely necessary. Here are some instances when family therapy should be heavily considered:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues
Substance abuse and mental health issues can have a profound effect on everyone involved. For individuals with addiction, substance abuse, and mental health disorders, family therapy can be extremely beneficial. By involving family members in the process of recovery, they are given a chance to become educated and better understand the disease and issues that another family member is facing, establish boundaries, and learn about healthy coping strategies. Family therapy provides a supportive environment that works towards long-term well-being and recovery.
Marriage, Divorce, and Relationship Issues
If a couple is going through a divorce or rough time in their relationship, there can be a significant impact on the rest of the family witnessing the turmoil. According to family law attorney Steven D. Miller, infidelity, lack of communication, and unresolved relationship issues create a hostile environment for everyone involved. Family therapy can lead struggling couples to better understand their relationship dynamic, rebuild trust, and learn healthier communication styles in order for the entire family to benefit and thrive.
Although parent-child conflict can arise at any point in a child’s development, it is most commonly seen in the teenage years. Teenage rebellion, power struggles, and behavioral issues may see an improvement when working with a family therapist. In therapy, both parent and child are able to express their concerns, understand varying perspectives, and eventually come to reasonable compromises.
Grief and Significant Loss
The loss of a loved one can be traumatic and emotionally exhausting. Oftentimes, family members grieve differently, which can lead to conflict within the family. Family therapy can provide a safe space for everyone to express their emotions and process the significant loss. A family therapist can help guide a family through the stages of grief and develop healthy coping mechanisms that promote unity within the family unit rather than division.
Blended Family Issues
When two families come together for the first time in a marriage, emotions are riding high and so is tension. There may be conflict between children, step-siblings, step-parents, and a variety of other relationships. A new family means new responsibility and new roles in the family unit, which can take some time to adjust to and also cause a great deal of conflict. Luckily, a family therapist can help in this situation by addressing underlying emotions and establishing healthy boundaries so that the family can feel peace and unity.
In conclusion, family therapy is necessary in situations where families face challenges that threaten the unity and togetherness of the family unit. Marital conflict, addiction, grief, and more may all be reasons that family therapy becomes a necessity. If you find your family struggling with communication, or any of the issues listed above, it may be time to get looking for a strong family therapist in order to strengthen your bonds for years to come.