Family therapy brings together family members to resolve a specific or ongoing conflict. The sessions are time limited in nature and seek to build healthy coping and communication skills. In family therapy we often see a preset idea that one person is the “problem.” The assumption is that if that individual gets help then the family will be free of its challenges. We understand this is a common understanding in family dynamics, but we find therapy works best when it’s a community effort. This is why at Resilience Lab we work diligently to ensure a non-judgmental environment. Family life is key to our well-being as individuals and we know it’s a sensitive area.
Some concerns that may bring a family into therapy include financial trouble, relationship dynamics, conflict between parents and children, substance abuse or physical or mental illness. While it’s possible only one individual may be experiencing one of the above challenges, the impacts of that experience can often have far reaching effects on other members of the family. For example, if a parent is smoking within the home, they may not smell the residue while the rest of the family is suffering. The smoking adult might suggest opening the windows, but the third hand smoke on furniture, walls and counters remain and can pose health risks for others.
In another example, a parent may be struggling with anger issues that can affect the entire family. Instead of the home being a safe space, it may be a triggering and stressful environment that individuals would rather avoid altogether. This avoidance can sometimes mean spending time in less desirable places or with people who aren’t the best influences. Something that may seem like a personal issue only affecting the individual can quickly affect an entire family unite.
In either scenario, a therapist would listen to each family member’s concerns and help guide the narrative toward comprises and solutions. The therapist might also provide suggestions on how best to handle similar disagreements. In family therapy, you will also learn how individual habits can affect the group. By focusing on problem solving skills and communication skills, therapy will help the family understand how to improve their existing relationships and create a new sense of harmony. Family dynamics can be challenging, but with professional support, specific areas and tools for improvement are identified giving you and your family a clear path forward.