Family Therapy is an opportunity to meet with a therapist trained in family counseling and other systemic therapies to assist families in moving through challenging lifecycle processes. It is part of the normal lifecycle of family development for there to be tough stages and growth periods for family members. Making a commitment to family counseling can be a first, yet important, step towards a more rewarding and successful family life.
Families with children are often coping with complex developmental issues, as families expand, contract and realign themselves due to births, deaths, adoptions, marriages, and divorces. Adding children to an established couple relationship, or adding parents to an established parent-child family, can be difficult. Parents with young children are often struggling with their roles as men or women, trying to adapt to social and personal expectations of new parenting roles, as well as maintaining intimacy in their own lovership. Single parents struggle with being “everything” to their children, as well as organizing the house and finances — too often with little help from others. Parents of older children struggle with issues related to their kids growing independence, as well as concerns around drugs, sexual experimentation, and letting go of their “babies.”
Family issues can include complex issues such as infertility, adoption, miscarriage, chronic illness, mental health issues, bereavement, infidelity, and remarriage. It can also include problems related to career issues, sex role divisions, financial concerns, and parenting skills. Sometimes parents are rearing children with complex mental health challenges, or physical and emotional disabilities. And most sadly, many families deal with the grief and loss related to premature deaths and long-term illnesses.
In this modern age, many people are parenting with partners they are no longer married to or step-parenting children from previous relationships. Children may be growing up as part of extended families that include step-parents, step-siblings, and half-siblings. Many families are formed through adoption, surrogacy, donor insemination, and other wonders of reproductive medicine. Children often need assistance understanding their biological roots, particular birth stories, as well as their unique family configurations.
As people move out of their own ethnic and racial communities into a more multicultural world, many are involved in interracial, interethnic, or interreligious marriages and partnerships. This can create internal issues due to different values and upbringing, differences regarding childrearing practices, as well as potential “in-law” difficulties, or judgment from the outside community.
Family sessions are the standard “50-minute therapy hour,” with 10 minutes at the end to set up the next appointment.