Families that reason together stay together. A family as a social unit can be a source of conflict and a place for healing. There are a number of dysfunctional families due to violence, drug abuse, infidelity, lack of resources, and poor parenting. Through outside help in the form of counseling, families can harness their energy to overcome such challenges. Family counseling makes a positive difference in families by transforming relationships.
What Is Family Counseling?
Family counseling is a specialized branch of therapy that focuses on the family unit. Essentially, family counseling uses psychotherapy techniques to support members of the family. The approach combines both individual and group counseling formats to deal with intra- and inter-dynamics. There are varied reasons why families seek family counseling, including:
- Dealing with loss and illness
- Dealing with violence and abuse
- Overcoming drug abuses
- Managing child behavior and adoption
- Dealing with divorce and separation
Family Counseling Techniques
Family counseling techniques vary with the need and group context but are consistent with broad therapy methods. Firstly, there is relational therapy to transform parent-child and intra-parent relationships. Educational techniques like coaching and role-play improve parental and child education. In comparison, talk therapy helps to improve communication while behavioral therapy changes behaviors. Lastly, a genogram helps understand the relations in a family through a family tree.
Benefits of Family Counseling
Improved communication: Family counseling improves communication between family members through openness and collective action. In most cases, family members are not direct with each other and avoid discussing complex topics. Family counseling encourages individuals to express themselves genuinely and listen with empathy. Moreover, the techniques encourage family discussions, consultation, and consensus.
Improved value systems: Family counseling supports families to evaluate their value systems. In this case, family members share their values and explore ways to live them and contribute to the common good. This approach helps with behavioral changes in habits like violence and substance abuse, thereby increasing safety and cooperation.
Overcoming trauma: There is empirical evidence supporting the positive impact of counseling on trauma. Sources of trauma in a family may include illness, death, separation, divorce, imprisonment, and job loss. Family members handle trauma differently, and counseling can alleviate stress and increase positivism.
Life skills training: Family counseling exposes individuals and groups to new life skills for emotional intelligence. The skills may include stress management, conflict management, negotiation, communication, and decision-making. Such life skills increase coping mechanisms for drastic change and enhance resilience.
No matter the challenge, families can benefit from therapy. Family counseling goes beyond handling existing conflicts to skills development. Importantly, therapy works when families accept they need help.
For more information, contact a counseling service in your area.