Families are multi-dimentional and complex. Each family comes with its unique challenges and unique joys. Counseling can help families navigate the challenges of daily life and particular crises and lead to greater trust, affection, and enjoyment between members.
BENEFITS OF FAMILY COUNSELING INCLUDE:
- A deeper sense of trust that family members will be there for you when you need them
- Closer and more harmonious relationships with family members
- More confidence and self assurance for each family member
- Develop skills to use in challenging times
- Having fun together as a family again
- Uncovering strengths and using them in rough times
WHAT TO EXPECT
Family therapy or counseling can involve the whole family or various parts of the family, depending on the family's current needs and who is able to attend.
Typically the family members who plan to participate in counseling will meet together with the therapist for the first therapy session to talk about goals for therapy. Other times therapists meet with parents’ first, and then introduce the children into the therapeutic process in later sessions.
The therapeutic process for family counseling varies, but in all cases it is important for the therapist to establish rapport with each family member involved, carving a space for each person to have a voice. Usually, in families, some people will feel more comfortable talking, while others feel more comfortable listening.
We work with families to find out what is important to them as a whole, and individually, including how they would like things to be different.
Here are some of the common reasons families seek therapy:
SCHOOL DISRUPTIONS OR ACTING OUT
If a child is suddenly disruptive in school or acting out in unusual ways they may be crying out for help. They could be being bullied, they could be experimenting with substances, they could be having a hard time adjusting to a new school or home or sibling. A child may be scared to express these feelings. Working in a safe environment with a family therapist can help the child get back on track.
DEALING WITH IN-LAW'S
In-Laws can be great, but they can also put a tremendous amount of stress on the family dynamic. Family therapy may be the best way to deal with some of these delicate situations without causing strain between you and your spouse.
NAVIGATING BLENDED FAMILIES
Blended families are very common and can produce wonderful experiences as well as unique challenges. The step parent - step child relationship can be fragile at times. The same can be said for adoptive siblings, step siblings, and half siblings. Family counseling can help you deal with jealousy or resentment that may be undermining the situation, and restore peace and harmony to your home.
DEALING WITH EX-SPOUSES
In the aftermath of a divorce you may not wish to have a lot of contact with your former partner. When children are involved however, that is not always an option. Often there is unresolved animosity and resentment and when there are parenting decisions to be made these feelings tend to be expressed through the children. You don't want to use the children to hurt each other, and you don't want the children to use that hurt to manipulate both of you. It may be difficult, but family counseling can help you work to find the common ground.
Feeling overwhelmed or at your wit's end with the challenges of parenting? At Wise Heart Families, we have several options for specialized support:
Parent coaching is a great way to get individualized support to help you resolve problems and restore (or perhaps establish) peace in your family. After an initial assessment, coaching sessions usually take place by phone. Many parents find this is an affordable, accessible and effective solution for parenting problems.
Positive Discipline Parenting Education
It is possible to defuse power struggles and hold children accountable while building close, loving relationships with them. Based on the best-selling book series, Positive Discipline by Dr. Jane Nelson, this program teaches strategies for helping children develop self-discipline, responsibility, cooperation and problem-solving skills, all without resorting to punishment. Positive Discipline can be taught through fun, interactive classes, as part of a parent coaching agreement or as an in-service training for educators or caregivers.
Programs can be scheduled as a one-time workshop or an on-going class and are often hosted by schools, daycare centers, churches or neighborhood groups. Please contact me for details and arrange a customized presentation for your group. For details on available workshops, see our Workshops page.