Families are complex units and come in many shapes and sizes. But most people can agree that when a family is healthy and happy, all seems right in the world. But, not all families are stable, healthy, and happy all the time. The stresses of modern life, the need for better work-life balance, a family crisis, or mental health challenges for one or more family members can bring a family to its knees. Children with disabilities, financial stressors, behavioural challenges, and just the ages and stages of different children can create challenges as well.
It's not uncommon for a family to go through a stressful period. Many families have some built-in resiliency to many of these problems. But even the more stable families can feel a need for help beyond the family's own resources. We all have assumptions about what family therapy can look like: screaming matches, gaps of silence, or not being able to face the person in front of you. But you can't believe everything you see on TV!
Why do families seek out therapy?
People engage in family therapy for many different reasons, including:
Improving communication and reducing conflict
Domestic violence/abuse in the family
Step-parenting or Co-parenting and blending families
Loss of a family member
A family member having problems (i.e., behavioural, school, drugs, bullies, disordered eating)
Coping with a family member’s medical or mental health issues
Family Counselling is different in the sense that it focuses on relationships within the immediate family unit. It sees the unit as a whole, rather than a group of individual members.
We work with all members of the family to address any familial problems or tensions that are causing friction. Each member of the family holds a piece of the puzzle and it's important to know what each piece looks like to facilitate change and healing. Instead of focusing on a single member, we see individual and relationship problems as the result of issues within the family dynamics.
Family Therapy puts emphasis on the importance of communication and understanding. Families will explore and identify positive patterns and behaviours, and those which may contribute to distress. The goal of Family Therapy is to help everyone in the family understand and support each other. Family members are able to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, to understand each other’s experiences and views, to appreciate each other’s needs, build on strengths and to make useful changes in their relationships and their
Our therapists at Anchoridge pay attention to the role of the wider system, such as the community and the culture to which the family belongs, and the effects of these systems on the clients’ lives. Our therapists use various methods, approaches and techniques to explore these topics, including:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Solution Focused Therapy
There is no single path when it comes to family therapy. For some families it may only last a few sessions, or it may take more time for other families. Each session is tailored to the specific needs of the family dynamics.
There is absolutely no shame in seeking help for your family. Seeing a therapist does not mean that there is something wrong with your family, or that it is about to fall apart. Rather, it means that you want a safe space for you and your family to share thoughts and feelings, which can help foster vulnerability, connection and ultimately satisfaction among your family.
Here are links to a few of our clinicians who specialize in Family counselling.