For families that need it, child and family therapy is as necessary as medical help or legal advice. It is geared toward people who are going through situations or events that cause stress and conflict in the family unit.
A family that makes the decision to take advantage of this kind of therapy demonstrates foresight, courage and strength, not weakness. Child and family therapy is an important step toward dealing with issues and their root causes. It provides a useful set of tools that will help each family member process their perceptions or feelings and resolve issues at individual and family levels. There are numerous benefits to be gained by a family that participates in child and family therapy.
Child and family therapy: The basics
The end goal of therapy is to resolve issues that arise from a change, a bad situation or an event that causes distress. Therapy can be applied at the individual level, but it can also be used to help units made up of more than one person, such as a couple or a family.
In broad strokes, a therapist creates a safe environment where each family member can express their thoughts, perceptions and feelings. The therapist also shows each member of the family how to communicate those thoughts, feelings and perceptions effectively.
Most importantly, the therapist teaches each family member to listen and respond appropriately to other family members. Listening is an important tool that allows a person to make changes where they are needed.
It is usually the first step to dealing with issues in the family and within an individual.
Proactive and reactive approaches to family therapy
Families go through changes, as well as ups and downs, in the exact same way that individuals do.
A family may need therapy to deal with substance abuse, a child with difficulties, bereavement, a divorce or the introduction of a stepparent into the home. Sometimes, the need for therapy can arise from something like a child or a parent moving back home and forcing the people who already live there to make adjustments. In some cases, the family may need therapy to correct some type of dysfunction.
It is important to note that most problems start as small issues that grow into serious situations. This is why the family should use therapy as a preemptive tool to prepare and deal with issues early enough to avoid common pitfalls. Unfortunately, many families need the wakeup call of a serious problem before they seek help, and that is where reactive family and child therapy comes in.
What benefits can a family get out of therapy?
Therapy can help repair things that are broken in a family and to strengthen bonds. It can be used to restore the family into a unit that actually functions the way it is supposed to. Important benefits of child and family therapy are:
- Learning to listen and make changes where changes are needed
- Learning how to make themselves heard effectively, but not hurtfully or aggressively
- Learning to identify and avoid the triggers of personal and family conflict
- Learning to de-escalate a situation
- Learning to deal with and process one's anger and the anger of other family members
- Learning to respect each and every family member, including oneself. More importantly, learning to respect children as individuals
- Learning to set, enforce and respect boundaries
- Understanding and empathizing with other family members, as well as making allowances where needed
- Learning to forgive oneself and other family members
- Learning to improve oneself
- Defining the roles of individual family members
- Learning to love and regard other family members and oneself
That is a long list of goals to achieve and enjoy, but therapy can get it done on both an individual and family level. Once the family learns and practices these skills, everyone will function better with time.
Get your family back on track with child and family therapy
We are not born knowing everything, least of all how to deal with difficult family situations. Luckily, child and family therapy can help resolve family issues in a way that is healthy for each family member and for the family itself as a whole.
If you need our help, get in touch with us to find out what we can do for you and yours. We would love to help make your family stronger.
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