The Many Benefits of Family Therapy
Whether it’s a group of blood-related relatives or a unit built by adoptive or foster parents, families come in all shapes and sizes. But no matter how big or small the family is, those relationships can greatly influence many aspects of our life.
We learn traditions, habits and perspectives from our families, and it’s these first relationships that teach us how to interact and form connections with others. For these reasons, maintaining functional family relationships is key to emotional, behavioral and psychological health and well-being.
Because families are composed of different members with distinct personalities, the dynamics can become complicated. Problems within families can exacerbate when one member struggles with the challenges of a mental disorder, substance dependency, developmental delay, behavioral health or intellectual disability.
Family therapy is a type of counseling that helps families dealing with stressful, challenging circumstances and unhealthy interactions resolve conflicts and address the root of their problems.
Let’s dig into the many benefits of family therapy:
Improves and Increases Communication
Families go through tough times that can result in anger, grief and stress. These challenging times may be sudden occurrences, or they may be problems compounded over many years. A family therapist helps individual members express their thoughts and emotions. Therapy also teaches families how to listen to each other’s messages, increasing empathy and awareness.
Identifies the Root of Conflict and Inconsistency
A therapist helps the family unit explore their interactional dynamics and discover the cause of the family dysfunction. For some families, the cause for disruption may be obvious, such as depression, substance abuse, divorce, illness, financial problems or mental illness. For others, there maybe deep-rooted emotional and psychological problems that can be addressed by therapy and treatment.
Establishes Healthy Boundaries
Boundaries allow us to keep aspects of our lives separate, letting us share confidences when we’re comfortable. When boundaries don’t exist or aren’t respected, problems can occur and alienate family members. During family therapy, these relational boundaries are examined and developed, placing responsibility on each family member to know when to maintain a respectful distance or step over the line.
Minimizes Dysfunctional Interactions
The result of miscommunication and disrespecting boundaries are dysfunctional interactions such as expressing feeling sinappropriately, excessive criticizing and unpredictable fighting. Other dysfunctional social interactions within families include lack of intimacy, abuse and apathy. By improving communication between family members, family therapy can help change detrimental interaction patterns.
Improves Problem-Solving Abilities
When family members increase their awareness of how their behaviors impact others and recognize unhealthy patterns, they improve their coping skills. Improved communication also helps families solve problems together as they become an emotional unit working together toward a common goal.
Many family members participate in family therapy at a point of hopelessness. Much damage has already been done, and therapy sessions are designed to help families recover from stressful circumstances. Coping skills developed during therapy help families rebuild and restore emotional losses as they recognize that support is critical.
At Communicare, we provide a broad spectrum of services to support families struggling with challenges involving mental illness, behavioral health, developmental and intellectual disabilities and substance abuse.
Contact us to learn more about how we provide mental health services, including screening, assessment, counseling and crisis intervention to children and youth with emotional and behavioral problems, along with their families.