Family Counseling: An Overview

Family counseling is a great tool that can be used to address a number of issues or changes within the family structure. If your family is experiencing a sudden change (divorce and terminal illness) or even a gradual one (drug and alcohol abuse), family counseling can help your family deal with the changes in a healthy and fortifying way.

Working with a Therapist

The first step of family therapy is finding a therapist who will help to nurture your family structure. It's important that you find a therapist who specializes in your family's particular issues, such as divorce or illness.

Many family therapists offer group sessions, as well as one-on-one sessions. Both session types have their place in family therapy, and your therapist will decide whether both can work, or whether one would be more beneficial than the other. In cases such as divorce, it may be difficult to get together all at once, so individual sessions may be suggested.

Ways They Can Help

Family therapists employ a number of treatment methods when working with families. It's important that you work with a therapist who you can trust extensively, and who you feel will bring your family in the direction you'd like to be.

Family therapists aren't there to tell you that your family is functioning incorrectly. Instead, these therapists help you to understand how your particular family's dynamics work, and how they can be strengthened and even used in your favor. Therapy cannot work if individual family members aren't willing to take responsibility for their actions. Even in such cases, however, one or more members of the family group may still benefit from family therapy sessions, and they can help them to understand why their family member is acting this way and how to deal with it.

What to Expect

As mentioned above, responsibility is a large part of family therapy sessions. When working with a family therapist, old wounds are expected to come to light. In some cases, sessions (and therefore, family dynamics) may become worse before they become better.

Family therapy is not an easy fix. You and your family should be prepared for hard work and be open to the suggestions offered by the therapist. It's important that you work with your therapist, not against them. Follow their recommendations and take their advice to heart. This is why it's important that you find a therapist whom you trust explicitly.

While therapy may not be for all families, it's an option that should be seriously considered by those families going through extensive changes. Family therapy is a lot of work, but the strengthening that can occur during those sessions may be worth it. If you think a family counselor would be useful for your family, visit Andover Counseling Center.