Help For Your Family

Families And Flowers

Proverbs 11:29 says, “He who troubles his own family will inherit wind…” The idea is that a person who brings trouble to his own family will find that there is nothing left of his family so that whatever would have been passed on to the next generation will be gone with the wind. This is because families are a system where what happens with one member of the family, good or bad, affects every other member of the family and the whole family. 

Families are like flower gardens.  Any gardener knows that if weeds have taken over the flower bed, if there are poor nutrients in the soil, or if bugs are eating the roots, etc., the flowers won’t be healthy.  To make the flowers healthy, the gardener needs to work on improving the flowerbed.

In counseling, this is called “family systems theory.”   It says that a family is not a group of individuals acting independently of one another, but a family is an intertwined system where change in one member influences change in the other parts of the family.  Each person in your family is a product of changes in the flowerbed that is your family system.  The behavior of one member of your family and the interactions of the members of your family toward one another, all change your family system for good or bad.  That is why, when there is a problem with a member of your family or between members of your family, it is a good idea to seek family therapy.   

What is family therapy?  Family therapy is therapy that focuses on developing and maintaining healthy, functional family relationships.  The goal is to identify and address emotional, psychological, spiritual, or behavioral issues in the family.  This can extend beyond your nuclear family to your in-laws, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relations that have an impact on your immediate family.

Every Family Has Problems

When a family has problems, the immediate response is shame and self-protection.  If your child is struggling, as a parent, you feel like you have failed.  You also want to protect your child from humiliation.  If you have a moral failure as a parent, your family will feel shame and want to protect its reputation.  So, the natural instinct is to “keep it in-house” and don’t let anyone know.  So many families try to deal with big issues on their own, but they don’t know how and often they do more harm than good.  Things may even get worse. 

Listen, every family has problems.  You’d be amazed at what goes on behind the manicured lawns and “Love Lives Here” welcome mats of the average American home.  We hear it every day, and can assure you that your family is not weird.  Every family struggle with something.  Some struggles are bigger than others, but everyone has something that they need help with.  That’s why God says to pray for one another and encourage one another.  We need help.

Here are some of the issues that people go to family therapy for.  Yours may be on the list:

         

  • Behavioral problems

  • Substance abuse

  • Addiction

  • Depression

  • Sibling conflict

  • Inconsistent parenting

  • Marital problems

  • Divorce – coping with or adjusting to life after

  • Remarriage and blended family issues

  • Adapting to a major change

  • Chronic illness or death in the family

There Is Hope For Your Family

Family therapy can help your family develop healthy boundaries, improve communication, define roles, improve family dynamics and relationships, give coping skills, address dysfunctional interactions, and help with problem-solving.

We also offer counseling for divorce.  We can help you with parenting so that you can be the best parent for your children that you can be.  We are here for you if you are a single parent who may be dealing with depression and anxiety more than married parents.  If you are co-parenting, you still want to be there for your child even though you and the other parent are no longer married, and we can walk with you and the other parent, together or individually, through that challenge. We can help you with parent-child issues, wounds of a father, mother issues, etc.  And we can work with your child’s behavioral issues with child therapy techniques like play therapy.

What Happens In Family Therapy?

First, your counselor will bring in family members together for some sessions and may also see an individual family member for some sessions.  Typically, the sessions last about 50 minutes and there are around 12 sessions, which is short for therapy.  However, the number of sessions depends on your family’s situation and needs.

The therapist will talk to everyone in the family to hear the issues that you’re dealing with from each family member’s perspective.  When did the issue start?  How as the family been dealing with it so far? Questions like that.

The counselor will develop a treatment plan with the goal of improving the conflicts or problems.  Know that no one will be blamed or labeled “the bad guy.”  The only enemy that will be targeted is the negative pattern or behavior that is disrupting the family.

The counselor will help your family communicate better, solve problems, and find ways to work together.  You’ll set goals and work on ways to fulfill them.  The problem may or may not go away, but you will have new skills to get through the situation in a healthier way.  And there will be the empowerment of knowing that your family is “in this together.”

Common Objections To Family Therapy

“Family therapy takes too long; it’s easier to medicate children for their problems.”

Overmedicating children is a problem.  Medication can do more harm than good to a child’s development.  With children, drugs should be a last resort, not a first resort.  Talk is a powerful medicine.  Family therapy harnesses the power of a family to heal itself.  And it usually only takes about 12 sessions.  Isn’t your child worth three months of family therapy?  Sure, they are!

“The therapist will blame the parents.”

Blame is a four-letter world in counseling.  Counselors who blame their clients lose their clients and should lose their license.  Blaming accomplishes nothing.  The only “bad guy” in the counseling room is the negative pattern or behavior that is disrupting the family.  That is where the focus will be and where it will stay.  If someone starts blaming a family member, the counselor will stop it and redirect the focus back onto the problem, not the person.

“Getting the whole family to counseling every week will be a scheduling nightmare.”

Yes, it would be a nightmare if that were the case.  With sports and all the extra-curricular events kids have these days, it’s hard enough to get the whole family to the dinner table, much less to a therapist’s office once a week.  Typically, family therapy doesn’t gather every member of the family for every session.  Usually, the family gathers for the first session, then the therapist works with just the parents or just the child, and brings the family together again once or twice.  Therapy will be done in a way that makes sense for your family.

Take The Next Step

If you’re ready to get your family started in family therapy for divorce, parenting, parent-child issues, or children’s psychological or behavioral issues using play therapy, it’s easy to make an appointment with one of our trained Christian counselors.  Just reach out to us here or call 972-422-8383.