Family counseling usually involves all members of the family unit. Often times the therapist will implement one or more treatment goals, depending on the family members’ needs, issues and situation. Family counseling may help to promote better relationships and understanding within a family. It may also assist families or individuals within a family to learn more productive ways to resolve conflicts, improve troubled relationships, eliminate conflict between parents and children, work on financial problems, or to help family members interact with each other in a more positive manner.
However, some families seek counseling without one of the family members due to him or her already being in a treatment program for chemical dependence, an eating disorder, or another identified issue. Family members may also attend counseling even if this family member has not yet sought out his or her own treatment. Family counseling will help each member learn how to deal with and better cope when a family member is affected by certain physical or mental health issues. It is important to realize that when one member of the family is struggling, the entire family is affected which makes family counseling so important.
In family counseling, children and adolescents will have an open forum where their feelings, concerns and issues may be discussed in a safe environment where the therapist can act as a moderator between family members. Parents may also benefit from an environment where their issues may be discussed in a therapeutic setting where each person gets enough time to express his or her concerns. The therapist may also identify one or more family members who may benefit from individual therapy as well.
One of the goals in family counseling is for the therapist to observe how family members interact with one another during the session. Negative behaviors and communication styles are then pointed out by the therapist. The therapist will also assist the family in learning how to communicate in more positive and affective ways which will replace the negative communication patterns. Overall, the main focus of family counseling is for each member to progress and for the family to become a harmonious unit once again.
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