Can Family Therapy Help?

Family therapy is often seen as a problem-solver for families, who have a hard time relating to their teenagers or misbehaving children. Its best best-known branch, couples therapy, is used to help fix marriages and long-term relationships, as well as to help with the transition to divorce.

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But if the dissolution of the relationship has already been finalized and you’re not coping very well with the changes, as a family, could family therapy be a good answer to your troubles?

Quite possibly. Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy that looks at the family as a whole and the relationships that are established within the members, such as alliances, conflicts, and other influential interactions, which you might have never noticed before.

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What is Family Therapy?

With this kind of therapy, there is strength in numbers. As a union, your family can support its members in dealing with the separation, and help strengthen the bonds between each other. After a divorce you, and especially your children, still need to feel like they are a part of a family. Just because you are divorced, it doesn’t mean that your home has to be broken, and your children traumatized.  

Who Should Go to Therapy?

Whoever is willing to go. If both parents can be in the same room, that’s perfect. If not, just one of the parents (usually the one who got custody) and the children or teenagers of the family. The other parent may be called in from time to time, to participate in sessions and provide input. Besides, it is important for both parents to have the opportunity to listen to what the kids have to say about their feelings. Luckily, there are various approaches to family therapy, so you can find the ones best suited to you.

What’s the Point?

Family Therapy can be of great help to parents, especially if the children are acting out or resorting to blackmail to get what they want. Not all children do this intentionally and they need help in dealing with their feelings.

What Can Family Therapy Do for You and Your Children?

Family therapy, or psychotherapy in general, is sometimes disregarded, as something that can only be useful to people with psychological disorders. However, that is far from the truth. Therapy can always be helpful, even if you don’t feel you have any particular problems, because it can aid the development of your positive traits and relationships. In the case of separation between the parents in a family, it can also do many other wonderful things.

Help You Understand What's Going on with Your Kids.

Sometimes they don’t talk to you, other times they keep misbehaving, or seem too comfortable with the changes. Family therapy sessions are a good neutral place to start listening, to stop and think about what’s really going on with your children. Everyone is given the opportunity to speak their mind, during sessions.

Provide Strategies to Deal with Your Kids.

You may feel overwhelmed and need advice on how to handle things with your kids. Should you punish? Should you ignore inappropriate behaviors? Should you cuddle them more? This is a new situation for everyone and it is only natural that you won’t have all the answers.

Help You Understand Your Own Feelings.

You’re also going through something – a divorce, being single again, raising children on your own, moving to a new house, etc. You may not feel like yourself and have trouble coping with everything. Remember you too need to deal with your feelings and take time to mourn your relationship, to prevent a serious meltdown. Nobody can be a good parent to their children, unless they have dealt with their own feelings. 

Assist You in Separating Your Feelings as a Spouse, From Those of a Parent.

If you’re angry at your ex, and/or hurting badly, you may not see it, but you can be taking it out on your kids. Separating the feelings you have about your ex, from your responsibilities as parent, can help you and your kids be happier. Most importantly, it can help keep your children away from being in the middle of your arguments with your ex.

Mitigate Conflict Within the Family or with Your Ex.

We have all experienced moments, when a severe quarrel has taken place, but we can’t even remember what it was about. Another common issues is the inability to stop fighting, despite wanting to do so. Family therapy can help you get out of this aggressive cycle and usher you into good communication with your kids, and even your ex.

Help You Communicate More Efficiently.

Family therapy is all about good communication. Sometimes it’s not what we say, but how we say it. Most importantly, relationships can be influenced by what is left unsaid. The latter usually includes raw feelings, how much we care for our kids, how important it is for us to see them happy, how sad you are when they misbehave. Hearing all of this can be invaluable to your children, help them get in touch with their own emotions, and allow you to start building a stronger bond with them.  

Full reference: 

, (Jan 7, 2016). Can Family Therapy Help?. Retrieved Apr 25, 2019 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/e/can-family-therapy-help

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