When parents call our office, there’s a problem and they’re looking for help. Many parents want resources and support for just one of their children. For specialized services like psychological testing, you need an individualized focus on one child. But for some circumstances, it helps to have everyone in the family on the same page.
What is Family Counseling?
Family counseling is a particular approach to psychotherapy. Instead of addressing problems on an individual basis, family counseling recognizes that the problem impacts a number of people–not just one person. Counseling sessions can look like the whole family sitting together, or it can be many appointments spread out for each person. Whatever it looks like, the support is for all family members and really works on the family system as the means for change rather than just targeting one person in the family. Sometimes it can be difficult to know what the best first step should be. If you are unsure whether or not family counseling will help your family, ask yourself these questions:
Is Communication Difficult?
Instead of healthy and direct communication between every family members, some families have developed this intricate network of communication. Some families just don’t talk to each other. Whatever the reason, strain in communication leads to misunderstanding, resentment, and anxiety. If your child doesn’t understand what’s going on, that places a great deal of fear and confusion in their mind. Many children interpret a lack of communication as a sign that it’s up to them to take care of themselves. Trust is hard to come by when people can’t talk to each other.
Can Everyone Be In the Same Room?
Maybe this is your family: Everyone comes home from school and work and goes into their own private space to do their own thing. The tv is on, but no one is really watching it, everyone is on their phones, and no one really thinks about being together. Then, when a family member tries to get everyone together, it just feels awkward. It is important for everyone to have the space to decompress after a long day, and develop their own individual interests. Being at home can become a very isolating and individualized. Sometimes families need support and solutions to shift into healthier relating. Sometimes you just need one good idea to get everyone in the same room.
Does It Feel Like Everyone is Always Busy?
It can seem like everyone is always doing something. Everyone has their own agenda to keep. While life is busy for children, especially during the school year, parents can fill up their days and nights too. This can get to a point where everyone is so busy that people just don’t see each other. Parents simply say hello and goodbye as their schedules intersect. And the hope is that things will calm down at some point. But as we all know, things won’t calm down. With life is busy, children struggle with anxiety, because they have no down time to reset. They struggle with sleep. Their emotions are short. And there’s more outbursts at school.
A family schedule can overtake a family. So, if your family has a value of being together and loving each other, then you need to be intentional in resisting the constant drive of activity. It is so easy to fill every minute of every day with something. Oftentimes the solution is figuring out what your family’s priorities are and then making decisions as to what stays on the schedule and what doesn’t. Sometimes you need support in slowing down.
Is One Family Member’s Problem/Issue Affecting Everyone?
Everyone affects everyone. If a member of your family has an issue or situation where they need individual counseling, then your family may also need counseling. This is especially true if a family member has these following issues.
- Addiction and substance abuse
- Suicidal attempts or ideation (thinking and planning)
- A debilitating disease or ongoing sickness
- Personality disorders (borderline personality, narcissism, etc.)
- Emotional disorders (bipolar, anxiety, depression, etc.).
Has There Been A Significant Event or Trauma?
While everyone experiences grief and pain differently, a family shares in those experiences. Whether there was a death in family, a divorce, or a traumatic experience, it can make such a difference if the entire family has support through the grief process. Sometimes children need the space and tools to express how the event made them feel. Moreover, parents need ideas on how to navigate their children’s emotions. Grief and tragedy don’t have to be isolating. A good family counselor will be able to show you how something like this can bring your family that much closer together.
We’re Here to Help!
The Colorado Center for Assessment and Counseling offers family counseling, parent guidance, and counseling for children as young as 5 years old. Don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a free 30 minute consultation with one of our child specialists or family therapists. Call us: (970) 889-8204, or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.