Amy is twelve years old. Amy’s mother remarried several months ago, giving Amy both a stepfather and a stepsister. Though during courtship the group got along well, living together full time altered the dynamic. Amy, accustomed to having her mother to herself much of the time, began to act out in order to get attention. Amy and her stepsister, previously content as weekend playmates, began bickering more than usual. And neither parent was sure exactly how to discipline their stepchild without crossing boundaries.
This family decided to go to family therapy. Though it did not result in a “perfect” family dynamic, it did result in a happier, more stable one. The children learned coping mechanisms for having another child around full time, and the adults were able to communicate with each other about their expectations in regard to the childrens’ discipline. All members of the family learned to communicate their needs more effectively.
Family Therapy – Therapists in Grand Rapids, Forest Hills
Family therapy simply means counseling sessions the entire family attends. In cases like the one above, the entire family is struggling, perhaps due to a new marriage or divorce. In other situations, only one member is struggling, but the family attends as a unit to better learn how to support the struggling member. There’s nothing worse than when a family doesn’t get along, but havoc in the home can happen to the best of us. More often than not, disruptions to family life are short lived, but not all the time or with all families. Behavioral problems with kids as they grow up can be one issue, as can mental health problems with a parent. Sudden and unexpected illnesses or accidents can also disrupt what used to be a harmonious home life.
When family life becomes more difficult than peaceful or loving, it might be time to look at how family counseling and family therapy practices can help you and your loved ones rebuild the harmony you once enjoyed. And, if family life was never harmonious to begin with, counseling can definitely still help.
Finding the Right Balance
A lot of family relationship problems materialize slowly, over time. When ignored and allowed to fester, problems can bring an entire family to its knees. Family counselors are professionals who can see issues that perhaps those caught up in the turmoil are unable to see for themselves. A Thriveworks Grand Rapids family therapist can help families in the following areas:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Borderline Personality
- Chronic Relapse
- Coping Skills
- Developmental Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Domestic Violence
The entire range of issues is too long to list here. Counselors and qualified psychotherapists at Thriveworks Forest Hills are experts in their field. They have extensive experience in working with all kinds of family dynamics and disorders.
There is nothing new about family therapy, but what is new are the growing numbers of people seeking help. Many families are under huge strain because of the increasing demands of today’s hectic lifestyles. Too much work and not enough sleep certainly don’t help matters. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are more often than not solutions to many of these problems.
Grand Rapids family counselors strive to assist in the following areas:
- Family / Marital / Relationships
- Physical Illness / Mental Illness
- Psychological Testing and Evaluation
If you are experiencing ongoing problems in the family home, counseling is a good option to explore. A simple call to our family therapists could turn out to be one of the best decisions you ever make.
How Therapy Can Help
While you may know communication breakdown can impact families, you may not know that it’s actually one of the largest contributors to family dysfunction. Parents who grew up suppressing their feelings may struggle to communicate openly with their children. Children, with today’s hectic schedules and constant barrage of media, may find they’re unable to articulate what’s on their hearts and minds. Therapy can help open lines of communication so the family members can communicate with each other in a healthy way. Though communication problems may not be what brings you to therapy, it’s likely whatever issues your family is facing would benefit from some work on communication.
During family therapy sessions, all participating members will be seen as a group, though in certain cases the therapist may ask to see only one or two members for a session. The counselor will get to know each person and what their role is in the family and family dynamic. While the family will likely discuss the issues they know they are facing, the Thriveworks Grand Rapids family therapist will also help identify any underlying issues that have not been addressed, identify barriers to good communication, and help the family strengthen their communication skills (Mayo Clinic).
Communication is important in every relationship, but it’s deeply important in our closest family relationships. We want our family lives to be harmonious, full of joy, and secure in the knowledge that we can let our guard down and show our truest selves when we’re together.
Thriveworks Grand Rapids family counselors have helped many families overcome the constant struggles, tension, and general discord that can so negatively impact lives, and we’re ready to help you as well. If you’ve been thinking about calling, there’s no reason to wait any longer. Our therapists are experienced, compassionate professionals who are ready to help.
Thriveworks Grand Rapids Family Therapy
Thriveworks Grand Rapids family counselors know how painful living in a family in crisis can be. That’s why we don’t keep a waiting list, instead preferring to see new clients within a week, if not 24 hours, of when they call. If your family is struggling, contact us. We’re ready to help you restore harmony to your most important relationships.
Mayo Clinic. “Family Therapy.” November 2014. Mayoclinic.org.