Do you feel like no matter how much you try there is always conflict in your family?
Do you try over and over to make a connection with your teen but they keep pushing you away?
Do you feel frequently misunderstood no matter how much you try to explain yourself?
Can you tell your teen is struggling but you can’t figure out how to get them to let you help them?
Family Counseling can be one of the most effective ways to ease family conflict or resolve individual struggles that just seem unresolvable no matter how hard you try on your own or with individual therapy.
The family is viewed as a system, thus no one person is to blamed for conflict or problem behavior. Rather we look at the patterns and agreements in each family that could be leading to miscommunication or harmful behavior in individuals and then try to find new solutions together.
It is common for the relationship between a teenager and their parent to suddenly shift to conflict as the child becomes a teen.
Unfortunately, the parent teen relationship can shift towards less understanding and connection at a time when you want to be supportive to them during their transition to adulthood.
Family counseling provides a neutral third party to help teens and parents discuss topics that often end in hurt feelings and conflict.
The presence of a neutral party supports each of you to use communication skills and express feelings that just seem to get lost in the stress of conflict. You will finally feel heard and find resolution with one another.
Family Counseling can be established as the primary treatment focus or it can be an addition to you or your teen’s already established individual therapy.
I am available to work with teens individually and then transition in to family therapy once trust has been established.
I am also available as a family therapist who is separate from individuals primary therapist so that no one has prior relationships established.
Family therapy has the ability improve your empathy and understanding of one another and help you find new solutions to old problems and hurts.
It has the ability to change engrained family labels and roles so that each person is seen and understood as the whole person they are.
And most importantly it can re-establish the lost feelings of trust and love between the people who love each other the most.
What if my teen does not want to do family therapy?
If your teen is resistant to family therapy they may need to experience therapy on their own first and establish a trust in the counselor and the therapeutic process.
This is common and I often invite teens to work with me first for a few months so they understand that I value their voice and needs. Once that trust has been established they are often more willing to take the next risk of being vulnerable with loved ones.
Does the whole family have to attend?
It is always the ideal to have all primary family members involved. But that is often not always possible. At the minimum two members are necessary. If it is possible to get others involved occasionally that is often enough to begin creating positive change.
How many sessions do we have to do?
There is no set number of sessions. Each family’s issues are individual, as are each family members needs. We can meet for an Initial Consult and once I understand the complexity of the challenges then I can provide you an estimate of sessions.
What if my teen’s behavior has become violent or they are suicidal, can we still do family therapy?
Family therapies first priority is that each individual feel safe and valued. The goal is that in session you are learning and experiencing safe communication. Thus if someones behavior becomes unsafe in a session we discontinue the discussion until that person can be safe.
If a teen or parent has on going challenges with violence or self harm or suicidality, they will also need individual therapy. Family therapy would act as a support to their individual recovery.
Residential treatment centers are a common choice for parents with high conflict teens or teens whom they fear may hurt themselves. When challenges get this big it can be the right choice. But I also find that the combination of individual and family therapy can be just as effective and not as disruptive to the family bond or finances. Thus it can be worth trying before a residential setting.
My teen is just returning from a residential or outpatient program. Would you work with us?
Yes! Family therapy is extremely important to continue once a teen returns from a therapeutic setting. Often there is a need to re-establish trust and new ways of communicating or conducting ones self once a teen returns to their home. Family therapy can support the whole family in maintaining all the accomplishments gained in a therapeutic setting.