Every family has various problems that they must deal with. Every family also usually has a unique way of communicating with each other. The nuclear family these days is often quite different from how it was some decades ago. However, it hasn’t changed that most everyone grows up in some version of a family unit. In any family unit, the problems of an individual often affect the entire family. For example, if a family member is struggling with addiction, it will cause problems for everyone.
Family therapy is commonly used alongside other treatment techniques for the problem in question. For example, if one family member is being treated for addiction or a mental health problem, family therapy can be used to supplement that treatment. The goal of family therapy is to address the needs of every member in dealing with the problems of an individual.
When Is Family Therapy Helpful?
There are several situations where family therapy can be helpful in giving family members the chance to work through a problem that affects the whole unit. Those situations include the following:
• Addiction and mental health problems
All four of these situations can be very stressful to every member of the family. Of course, these situations are understandably difficult, but they may be harder on certain members versus others. When members don’t get their needs met in stressful situations, they can internalize the pain and it might lead to other issues in the future. Therapy helps families deal with these situations through:
• Revealing strengths and weaknesses
• Teaching families how to communicate and be honest
• Showing new ways to resolve problems and conflicts
• Teaching families how to resolve sibling conflicts
• Teaching better communication between parents and children
• Giving a clearer perspective on how a family should function
• Discussing feelings and coming up with solutions
How Therapy Helps Family Addiction Problems
Many adult addiction problems stem from experimenting as an adolescent. Teens start to experiment for a lot of reasons. However, it commonly has to do with how they feel about their family. A stressful home environment can lead teens to look for an escape through drugs or alcohol. If someone in your family is dealing with addiction, it’s normal that they will need some time for themselves. This might make other family members feel neglected and like they’re just supposed to forgive everything and move on. Family therapy is important because it addresses the concerns of every member and encourages them to talk about their feelings.
Top 5 Benefits of Family Therapy
By now, you should easily be able to see the benefits of family therapy in various common situations. Let’s take a look at five of the top benefits.
Benefit 1 – It Helps Each Member Understand Conflict
It’s human nature to want to blame someone else for a problem. If one member is obviously acting out and causing problems, it’s easy to blame them for everything. However, family therapy is not about placing blame. In almost every situation, a family conflict is more complex than it appears on the surface. Therapy helps everyone explore the underlying issues, thoughts and behaviors that caused the tension in the first place. Even if one member is contributing to conflict more than the others, the goal of therapy is to show how every member plays a part in creating and continuing conflict. In therapy, the goal is not to place blame or identify scapegoats. Instead, the goal is to help everyone understand each other and what is triggering certain behaviors and conflicts.
Benefit 2 – It Creates Deeper Bonds
Bonds between members often shift over time. The things that made them strong in the past may not apply in the present. Part of what you’ll experience in family therapy is how important each member is to the unit. It will help you understand the uniqueness of each relationship between members as well. As you go through therapy together, you may create new and deeper bonds.
Benefit 3 – It Teaches Conflict Resolution
Conflict within families is common and to be expected. However, many families go to therapy because they’re having difficulty resolving conflicts on their own. This is where a professional therapist can help. Why? Because your therapist is a neutral party who can look at your conflicts from the outside and give everyone a new perspective. Consider that your therapist has seen numerous types of conflicts within families and has helped them resolve the conflicts. Their experience can provide a breath of fresh air to your conflicts. Talking to a therapist can help you see things differently as well as provide you with the tools to resolve this conflict and future conflicts.
Benefit 4 – It Provides Support
Transitions are often the biggest cause of family conflicts. Some examples of impactful transitions include:
• Losing a loved one
• Starting a new job
• Going through a divorce
• Having a new child
• Remarrying and blending families
• Moving to a new area
These are all new areas of tension that can affect family relationships. Some members may be more affected than others, but they may not be able to express how they feel or why it’s affecting them differently. Family therapy can help you understand each other and support each other better through trying times.
Benefit 5 – It Improves Relationships
People who go to counseling often report that it helps them learn how to really listen to others. Listening skills will not only improve your family relationships but also your personal relationships with friends, partners and co-workers. Ultimately, therapy allows you to see how your words and actions affect others around you. The only way you can truly see this is when an impartial party helps you see this. However, the skills you learn in therapy can bring greater self-awareness of your own words and actions as well.
How Does Family Counseling Work?
There are different types of counseling for families. Some of them include the following:
• Functional therapy
• Multisystemic therapy
• Transgenerational therapy
• Brief strategic therapy
• Structural therapy
These types all address different situations. For example, functional therapy focuses on families with a child or teen who has complex mental or behavioral problems. Multisystemic therapy works to address mental problems with children as well as broader issues with their behavior, such as how they interact in school or in their neighborhood.
The type of therapy you attend will depend on your individual situation. Even though all families might experience similar problems, each situation is different because each individual within the unit is different.
Get in touch with a professional Family Therapist in Los Angeles through Menachem Psychotherapy Group. We specialize in helping families work through problems like addiction, mental health problems, grief and trauma. Find out more by contacting us today.