Family therapy

Family Counselling: Ways it Can Help

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Written by Sandy Glover

Master in Mental Health Counselling

25 Aug, 2022

One of the most significant connections people have is through family, whether chosen or blood relatives. Our lives have been built around our family and are the foundation of our human existence. However, that doesn't mean family relationships run smoothly and are void of disagreement, stress, or arguments. Therefore, if you and your family are struggling with issues, this is where family counselling can help.

Reasons to Seek Family Counselling

Families often seek counselling because they struggle with unresolved issues and can't understand where the problems began and what triggered them. And though all families deal with conflict, sometimes they become too much to handle and require seeing a family counsellor with the knowledge and skills to teach you how to manage challenges.

Family counselling is beneficial for many reasons, such as improving relationships with your partner or marital issues, tension or disagreements between parents and their children, or conflict with extended family members. In addition, family members may struggle with mental health or addiction issues, affecting the entire family dynamic and requiring immediate intervention.

What to Expect During Family Counselling

Although families may find the counselling process intimidating, your family counsellor is there to help you and ensure a safe environment.

The initial session will involve your family counsellor speaking with everyone to understand the family's situation better. They will ask questions to see when the problems began, listen to how each individual feels about the ongoing issues, and assess how the family has been coping and managing.

The next step entails you, your family, and the family counsellor creating a treatment plan to help you as a unit reach your goals.

Once the treatment plan is in place, your family counsellor will teach you and your family new skills, such as handling conflict better, communicating more effectively, and problem-solving.

The counsellor may not always have the entire family in session and will alternate sessions between family members, depending on the family's specific needs. For example, suppose a child is experiencing troubles in the home. In that case, they may see the entire family at the beginning of the session, the child during the middle or later half, and then follow up with the family towards the end.

Finally, the number of sessions you attend and how often you meet will be between you and your family counsellor, according to the family's situation.

Ways Family Counselling Can Help

When issues arise within the family, it can become too much for everyone. And not only can it affect everyone within the household, but it can also lead to work or school problems and negative interactions or daily functioning. Therefore, it is crucial to manage these issues with a family counsellor before it reaches that point.

Some ways family counselling can help:

  • Parenting issues

  • Marital or partner disagreements

  • Separation or divorce

  • Custody suits

  • Blended families

  • Family member's mental health or addiction issues

  • Conflict between family members

  • Children's behavioural issues/school struggles

  • Problems with extended family members

In addition, family counselling can improve relationships by building trust among family members, creating openness and honesty, supporting one another, reducing stress, learning how to forgive, and bringing the family back together.

Does Family Counselling Work?

Family counselling is an effective method for all involved. Families have reported improved partnership or marriages, better relationships with family members, improved communication skills, and fewer behavioural problems and school issues.

In addition, there are fewer adolescent eating disorders, parents have gained more effective parenting skills, and families have become closer through learning and practising proper coping techniques.

Repairing Family Relationships Takes Time

How you wish the family conflict, stress, and problems would instantly disappear: your adolescent sill isn't pitching in with chores, you and your partner are not allies when it comes to parenting, the siblings continue to fight over everything, doors slammed in each other's faces, and screaming matches are going on throughout the house. Or how about when you tell yourself that you won't yell again, only to lose your cool?

It is essential to remember that most of your family's issues have been building over time, and therefore, it's going to take some time to repair. There will be setbacks, maybe more times than you hope. Still, if all family members continue to practice and put the effort in, the family relationship should hopefully begin to flourish. Therefore, please don't give up, as your family is too important.

There is Hope for You and Your Family

You and your family do not have to wait for a significant event or crisis to seek family counselling. Therefore, please don't wait until the situation progresses.

Having a family counsellor with experience in your situation can bring your family closer by teaching you how to resolve and cope with challenging situations, saving your family's relationship.

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Sandy Glover

Master in Mental Health Counselling

Sandy has a master's degree in mental health counselling. Initially, she worked as a therapist but shifted her focus to the peer field and is now presenting at inpatient facilities.

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