The 21st Century Solution to Family Problems

Family and relationships have always been controversial topics, especially since their values are constantly changing and evolving. The concept of the traditional nuclear family, consisting of the mother, father and child or children, as well as that of the extended family, with grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, all being there for you, loving and supporting you unconditionally have somewhat distorted along the years and we now live in a world and a society that abounds and progresses in multiple family issues and problems. There was a time when doing your dirty washing in public, referring outside the boundaries of the family, was unacceptable for many people, but nowadays, more and more families are opened to the idea of getting professional, outside help. Family counseling, which is also widely known as family therapy, has been used for quite some time now to help couples and families in distress, guiding them towards a healthier interaction and a more nourishing relationship.

Family Counseling For Children

As an important branch of psychotherapy, family counseling works with persons within an intimate relationships, in the direction of changing what is harmful and developing what is beneficial. It does so by viewing the family as a system that needs to change and progress together, not each individual as a separate entity. The basic principle is that working within the system, the psychological health of each constituent will improve, as family relationships are extremely important in this matter. There are many types of family counseling, depending on the problem or problems a family is faced with and struggling with, although a current issues in today’s society seems to be dealing with the disruptive behavior of children. Most of the times, the disruptive behavior comes as a result of significant life events, such as the parents’ divorce, the death of a parent or close family member, even the death of a pet or a friend and in more serious cases, abuse and trauma. Disruptive behavior doesn’t necessarily mean acting out and becoming difficult to control or keep on the right track, it can also come as mood swings, sleep disorder, loss of appetite and so on.

When you are facing such a problem with a child, family counseling is your best shot at solving the problem in the most effective manner. Therapists can help both children and parents reach common ground, coping with their difficulties, working their way through mutual trust. Even with the family therapy sector there are several different approaches that psychologists or psychiatrists resort to, depending on the particular problem or each family’s dynamics. One of the most popular form of family counseling is cognitive behavioral therapy, which is based on the restructuring of negative feelings and thoughts into more positive and productive ones. Family therapy has reached the point where it is considered the most helpful approach for children who don’t get along with family members, argue extremely often and show signs of authority disregard. The counseling sessions  involve all or some of the family members, working towards a more efficient communication, integrating problem solving techniques.

Dealing With A Catastrophic Illness

Family counseling is not limited to behavioral therapy for children with disruptive conduct or parents who feel they lost control, but also for families that are faced with the terrible prospect of losing a member. In these cases, family therapy can be a huge help and comfort, providing members with the support they need in the three major steps of the process, reacting after receiving the diagnosis, maintaining a hopeful attitude towards the crisis and the awareness of death. In the first stage, the major challenge for family members seems to be sustaining the family routine during a period of radical change. Counseling can help families find the external and internal resources to adjust to the shock and the doubt, while also sustaining a familiar atmosphere. It can also help family member learn how to talk about the diagnosis more easily, how to break down the news to others, especially to children, as well as how not to shift too far from the normal, everyday life, in order to maintain the feel of a family.

During the second stage, as the illness progresses and obvious signs of imminent loss appear, the therapists and the counseling sessions will help family members deal with depression, anxiety and all other forms of response to the crisis. Talking about the pain with someone other than a family member has proven very beneficial, especially a professional that can help you find wider meanings to illness and death than the immediate absurdity that you see. Some psychologists will even help family members search for extra support and aid in close friends or other relatives, in order to make a larger support network available, helping family members to discuss the issue easier with other people. Finally, as the family reaches the last step, that of becoming utterly aware of the death of their beloved one, family counseling is a way for members to have an open forum of discussion, about dying and death, about grief and anger, about the future implications of the event from all points of view, which would otherwise be extremely hard to accomplish.

Marriage Counseling and Couple Therapy

A very popular branch of family counseling is marriage therapy, which is also referred to as couples therapy and implies the process of advising and guiding the two parts involved in a relationship towards reconciliation and productive ways of approaching the topics of family and relationships. Sometimes, couples therapy can be a short term endeavor, when the two parts need to resolve a particular issue or problem alone and it can consist of 1 to 3 counseling sessions, but most of the times, married couples resort to therapy after years of struggling with distress, constant arguing and unhappiness and the counseling process is generally long term. The main target of marriage counseling is emotional communication and most of the times, getting in touch with one’s emotions and further becoming aware of your other half’s real feelings and perceptions can be a sinuous journey and can take a long time. There are different types of marriage counseling strategies and techniques and, while most couples resort to the services of psychologists, some prefer going straight to a psychiatrist and their techniques are a little different. However, there are two major couples therapy methods that are widely used within the business, active listening and cinematic immersion. Both of them are focusing on improving the clients communication skills, in order to build a forum in which both parts can feel safe to express their emotions, their needs and their wishes, but also to hear the same from each other.

As we can see, whether families or family members are faced with insuperable problems, with couples issues or struggle with disruptive child behavior, counseling is a great support and cornerstone in our society, which has become not only completely accepting and tolerating of the concept, but even a strong advocate and follower of it.

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