Family therapy is a way to address pains within your family and heal accompanying wounds. This could be longstanding dysfunction or a recent change in your lives that has caused conflict for the entire group or a single member. In order to restore stability, the therapist will look at each individual and their role in the larger family dynamic. By understanding how each person operates and influences one another, the proper exercises and therapy techniques can be applied to help resolve the behavioral, emotional, or mental problems for the single person experiencing the issues or the family as a whole.
3 Problems That Can Warrant Family Therapy
1. A Member Is Diagnosed with a Irreversible Cognitive Disorder
While there is treatment for many forms of mental health issues to help people live their lives as normal as possible, many cognitive disorders can drastically change a person. These psychological changes can take a toll on the family as a whole. Family therapy can help the members without the ailment understand the changes the person might be experiencing and possible ways their personality could become altered in the future. Schizophrenia, dementia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia, and even major depressive disorder are all considered serious mental illnesses. When families are more prepared for the ways these illnesses can affect their relative, they can better cope with the symptoms that follow and help their loved one live a healthier life.
2. Failing Generational Boundaries
Generational boundaries ensure the children within the family are well taken care of and do not take on roles of the adults or supervisors looking after them. Healthy boundaries setup care and emotional support for the child but also provides adequate discipline when necessary. When these boundaries are not clearly set, the child can start to exhibit inappropriate behavior like screaming to get attention, not responding to questions, and challenging any kind of instructions. Family therapy can teach the parents how to set rules they want the child to live by. This will involve teaching them how to show the child emotional attention and assigning tasks that let their kid positively have a sense of power and control that does not involve taking on adult roles.
3. Mixed Backgrounds
When you combine families from different racial, cultural, or religious backgrounds, there is usually a few challenges to overcome. The way each side was brought up would generally be how they would live, but as you’ve decided to merge with another option, you’ll have to make a conscious choice to learn about new customs, values, and priorities. Family therapy can teach you how to bend and compromise and provide you with communication tools that will let you speak to your spouse or family member in a way that shows why you might be confused with their way of doing things.
- “Generational Boundaries” by Marvin G. Knittel Ed. D. Retrieved at Psychology Today
- “What Is Family Therapy and What Are Its Goals and Benefits?” by Courtney Ackerman. Retrieved at Positive Psychology Program
- “Interracial/Interculture Marriage” from the First Five Years of Marriage. Retrieved at Focus on the Family
- "Serious Vs. Non-Serious Mental Illness. Retrieved at BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois
- Image via Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash