How To Make The Best Out Of Family Therapy
Santos Counseling PLLC provides family counseling to families who are ready to navigate difficulties and improve relationships. Therapy can be a productive and fun environment aimed at helping family members remove resentment, build trust, and build deep connections.
Common reasons that families seek family counseling:
- Addressing unresolved trauma.
- Helping to talk about divorce.
- Improve communication.
- Learn how to get along.
- Navigate difficult milestones. Such as the teenage years.
- Work on acceptance.
What is family therapy like?
Family therapy includes a counseling session where multiple members of the family work with a counselor. The family comes together to share common areas that they would like to work on.
The counselor provides support and guidance in addressing the goals presented. The goal is to give the family system the knowledge and tools needed to address challenges and improve the relationship.
6 Ways to Make the Best Out Of Family Therapy
1. Every member of the family is responsible.
Accountability must be a skill that is practiced during family therapy. What is vital to understand is that during the setting of family therapy, you will want to avoid this at all costs: the ping pong match. This is the blame game.
Instead, create a space in family therapy where each family member is willing to take ownership of their actions. For instance, let’s say that you are in family therapy with your kids. The focus is on getting along and improving the family relationship.
During the session, your child shares with you that they feel hurt when you yell at them. You then respond by telling them that they need to stop misbehaving if they want you to stop yelling.
In this example, you can notice how the parent is sharing that they require their child to behave in order for them not to yell. The child is sharing that they feel hurt when the parent yells. Both have requests. The big-picture goal is to heal the relationship.
In this case, the encouragement would be to provide each family member their own time to share ownership over the unwanted behaviors that are negatively impacting the interaction and family dynamic.
2. Work on creating a family culture.
Most successful businesses have a culture. From the moment that you walk in the front doors of the business, you can feel the culture. I want you to think about your family and what it’s like to be a fly on the wall.
- What is the culture during dinner time?
- What is the culture during conflict?
- What is the culture when seeking support?
The goal is to create a healthy and constructive family culture. A culture that promotes healthy communication encourages positive conflict resolution and feeds healthy rituals while removing unhealthy habits.
3. Work on appreciation in the family.
Research connected to couples therapy shows that successful couples have a 5 to 1 ratio. Five positives to one not-so-positive. The point of sharing this with you is to encourage the same practice in your family system.
When providing family therapy, I often encourage the family system to write down how many positive statements they have received and given in the past week by family members. We reflect on the number to identify how the number impacts family connection and individual feelings of love, compassion, and appreciation.
As you work on improving your family system, ensure that you actively work on appreciation.
4. Successful family therapy includes patience.
When working with a family therapist, you may find that you want to address an issue and get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. This makes sense. The key aspect to consider is autonomy.
Each member of the family holds individuality. As such, you may be ready for change, while the other family member may require more time. When providing family therapy, I encourage the family to have a conversation about time and readiness.
One therapeutic strategy that can help with patience is creating SMART goals.
5. Successful family therapy involves individual work.
One of the key factors that contribute to success in family therapy is the willingness to engage in individual work. You may notice that you are pursuing family therapy due to an issue impacting the family system. Such as, the relationship between you and your child is strained.
Try to reflect on yourself and consider what skills you can improve on that will help with navigating the strained relationship.
Areas that you can work on which often support the family therapy goals include:
- Working on emotional regulation. This is your ability to be in a difficult emotional situation and maintain your composure.
- Working on emotional intelligence. This is your ability to be aware of how your mood impacts your thoughts and behaviors. As well as how the external world impacts your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
6. Successful family therapy requires active listening and genuine interest.
During family therapy sessions, it is easy to find yourself wanting to take over the room and be the sole speaker. You may enter the counseling session with tension and months of ongoing conflict in the family.
Successful family therapy sessions include a setting in which there is a speaker and a listener. The speaker takes on the role of holding the space to share their thoughts and feelings. The listener shows up with a genuine interest in what is being said. This can be done by showing compassion and empathy while listening. This process promotes deep vulnerability and connection.
Family therapy is a wonderful way to improve connection in your family system. If you are ready to start family therapy, please contact our counseling office. We are in Greensboro, North Carolina. Our counseling office provides counseling in-office as well as online.