Despite our unconditional love towards our family, it is no wonder that sometimes they get on our nerves. If left unacknowledged and unfixed, issues within a family can pose many threats to the happiness and stability of the family unit.
Even petty grievances and annoyance can become aggravating factors if left unattended. That’s why every family can benefit from the insight and counseling of a family therapist.
What is Family Counseling?
Family Counseling is a form of psychotherapy that helps family units learn how to deal with problems and resolve conflicts. It often involves short sessions of around an hour in which the entire family or certain family members can participate.
These sessions help family members communicate their thoughts and feelings with each other in an effective manner. They can prove particularly helpful when the family is dealing with issues such as marital, financial, mental, or physical health or addiction issues affecting the entire family.
Instead of arguing, criticizing, or bickering over who’s right or wrong, families can sit down with a family counselor and discuss their problems healthily and respectfully, yielding better results and mitigating the problems from their roots.
What Do Family Counselors Do?
Before informing what family counselors do, it is imperative to mention how to become one.
A therapist, psychologist, or licensed clinical practitioner holding a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology or a related field, having supervised clinical experience, and relevant state licensure is eligible to become a marriage and family therapist.
Their work requirements involve background analysis of a family using standardized tests, conducting sessions that allow family members to hear and be heard, and showing healthy approaches to dealing with conflicts, disagreements, and bumps along a family’s journey.
These bumps commonly include financial issues, abuse, lack of intimacy, infidelity, loss of a loved one, and lack of balance and harmony amongst family members.
The therapist is also responsible for diagnosis and treatment if a family member suffers from a psychological condition such as depression, anxiety, or drug abuse.
Some of the numerous benefits offered by family counseling are listed below to give you an idea of the overall positive impact it can have on your family life:
- Effective Communication
Problems in a family that would not exist otherwise are created by ineffective communication or a complete lack thereof.
A study has found that around 70 percent of parents say they cannot effectively and openly communicate with their kids. The reason behind this is a need for more understanding of communication styles. Yes, each member of a family has a different communication style. While one may be vocal and eloquent about their thoughts and feelings, one might be more closed off to express themself.
Family counseling is vital in helping family members understand each member’s needs and requirements and their communication style.
Counseling creates an open dialogue between families to hear and let themselves be heard. Each member can share their perspective while listening to the others. This open dialogue is accompanied by teaching comprehension, whereby each member must consciously understand where the other is coming from and their thought process.
A family counselor is skilled enough to teach effective communication and comprehension to families, helping them have meaningful conversations.
- Conflict Resolution
Conflict is an art of its own which family therapy shall make you a pro at.
A study in the Journal of Marriage and Family on Predicting Marital Happiness and Stability from Newlywed Interactions concluded that destructive conflict behaviors such as criticism and yelling are the reasons behind the increased divorce.
Every family or marriage will go through instances of disagreement, arguing, and unintentionally hurting each other’s feelings. However, how these issues are resolved says a lot about the family dynamic.
Showing contempt, criticism, and aggression towards family members, active or passive, indicates poor conflict resolution skills.
In the face of conflict, it is essential to remember that everyone’s feelings are valid. So, the ultimate solution is to find a middle ground, compromise where necessary, and learn the virtue of forgiveness instead of playing the blame game.
Family therapy will help you reach these solutions and conclusions in a way that sticks around forever.
- Dealing with a Divorce or Loss
The end of a marriage or the losing a loved one can be an excruciatingly painful time for a family. If the trauma of these incidents goes unprocessed, it can keep surfacing back up in unhealthy ways.
Family therapists provide trauma healing to prevent this from happening, which helps you process and make sense of your emotions, validate them, and move on from your pain in a healthy manner.
- Building Intimacy
As years go by and families grow older, they can start losing love between them. Catering to worldly matters, responsibilities, and duties can make partners spend less time being physically or emotionally intimate with one another.
On the other hand, as kids grow older, particularly in their teenage years, they feel a disconnect between themselves and their parents. All of this leads to boredom, isolation, and a lack of love among family members.
If you do not want your marriage or family life to take this unfortunate turn, then family counseling is a sure way to build intimacy step by step.
Counselors recommend activities such as intimate gestures, date nights, and family bonding trips that cater to your and your family’s needs. These activities yield positive results in making family members feel loved and appreciated.
There is no secret recipe for a happy and healthy family unit. The constant efforts of all family members to learn, grow and mature through the trials and tribulations of life create strong and supportive families.
However, help is always available, and marriage and family therapy help build a healthy family dynamic.
Family therapists and counselors’ insight, knowledge, and expertise can be pivotal in building a happy ever after for you and your loved ones, which stands the test of time.