Family Therapy sees the family as a whole; a system. Any number of stresses can impact that system and cause dysfunction or conflict. Family therapy provides a way for the family to adjust to stresses, old or new, and to learn new ways to communicate and function.
Stresses to the family can be caused by many changes, including:
- Blended Family
- New Baby
- Death in Family
- Shift in Family Structure
- Parenting Issues
- Major Illness
How often have you heard this: “I am NEVER going to raise my kids like my mother/father raised me!” These words have been spoken by the most committed and caring parents, usually not long before they say or do something just like their father or mother did. The truth is that parents do the best they can with their children, and all of us learn from the teachers we had; our parents. Although our parents did the best they could, times change and every generation faces new challenges and influences on families.
A family is not static. Children grow up and move away, parents split up and remarry, and outside stressors like job loss or medical issues can create change and flux in a family’s life. Making these adjustments is difficult, and making them well can mean the difference between success and struggle in your family’s life.
Family therapy is a form of therapy that sees the whole family as “the client.” Family therapy works with the family as a system, much like a team, and focuses on finding out where the team is strong and where it needs strengthening.
Often parents are fearful of seeing a family therapist because they worry they will be seen as “bad parents” or will be judged by the therapist. This is NOT how family therapy works. There are no “bad guys” — just systems that have gotten off balance by internal or external changes, and need some adjustments to function well again.
Family therapy can help give a voice to each family member and can heal relationships that are broken within the family as well as equalize responsibility so that no one is being labeled as “the problem.” Family therapy can help empower parents who feel they have lost control of their children and can help them become empowered with empathy and love instead of anger and control.
At the end of the day, it is our family — of whatever makeup — that we come home to and with whom we share a sense of belonging. If your family is struggling, you don’t have to wait for a complete system breakdown. A number of the therapists at Maria Droste are skilled in providing effective and efficient family therapy and will be happy to talk with you more about how they could help your family.