The concept of family is fairly simple, but the reality is much more complicated. Families come in all shapes and sizes, and what is ‘normal’ for one may be completely unthinkable for another. Nevertheless, challenges arise in all of them. These may be common in many family units, or personal to you and yours. Nevertheless, when issues arise within family units, they can cause considerable stress and strain. This is often because families are, on paper at least, supposed to provide a constant source of love, support, and comfort. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Even if your relationships were previously good, raising issues within therapy can cause friction that also needs to be repaired.
Fortunately, therapy has been proven to be extremely effective for family issues. You can choose to go to therapy on your own, or your therapist may feel that it's beneficial for multiple members of your family to attend together or independently. You may even be recommended to have a combination of sole and group sessions over several weeks or months.
Every family is different, as are the problems that they may be facing. However, some family issues are more common than others. Fortunately, therapy can be used to address a wide variety of them, including:
Struggling with aspects of parenting of one or more of your children, regardless of their age
Support with fostering or adopting and managing the impact that it has on your family
Coping with empty nest syndrome
Coping with children who have additional needs and require special care and support
Dealing with issues surrounding your relationship with your parents
Past childhood trauma
Looking after elderly relatives who have become your dependants
Blended family problems
Separation and divorce
Lone parenting and step-parenting
The impact of traumatic events, such as the death of a family member, terminal illness, serious injury or disability, etc
Money problems, like debt or redundancy
The first thing to remember is that therapy won’t necessarily ‘fix’ any of the issues that your family is experiencing. Many of the problems that families face as part of day-to-day life are impossible to change – such as terminal illness, divorce, or disability/dependence. However, therapy provides an outlet for you to talk freely and without judgment about the issues that you are facing. Your therapist will help you to see things from all viewpoints if necessary, adjust your attitude towards what is happening, and establish techniques that make it possible for you to cope more easily. Your therapist will also provide confidential and impartial support and advice. They may also signpost you to other resources and support networks which you may find beneficial. For example, if you are struggling to care for elderly relatives, you may be given details of local charities and community groups that can offer you support.
Therapy is a different experience for every individual and family, and your sessions will be unique to your needs. What will happen will depend on the issues that you are experiencing and what you hope to achieve by going to your therapy appointments.
Find out more about therapy for family issues, contact Dr. Allison Brownlee and Associates in San Diego, CA at (858) 239-0975 to book an appointment.