If you go on vacation with someone else’s family, let’s say at a beach house with lots of communal living space, you’re going to notice certain quirks. For instance, the mom seems to spend most of her day cleaning up after everyone else. It almost seems compulsive the way she picks up her kids’ drinking glasses as soon as they finish a sip so she can immediately load their dishes into the dishwasher. And it’s bothersome the way the son-in-law starts “vacation drinking” before lunch, then takes a long nap in the afternoon so his wife has to take care of the kids by herself. She’s obviously resentful, but she doesn’t say so directly. It just comes out passive-aggressively at dinnertime when she orders delivery from the pizza place that she knows her husband hates.
Each family has subtle habits and behaviors that might be so ingrained, it takes an outsider to notice them. Communication patterns can get embedded into family relationship without anyone stopping to wonder if they’re healthy. Sometimes little words and actions can add up to big conflicts.
That’s where a family therapist enters the picture. A family counselor at Thriveworks in Modesto, CA can help family members notice, dissect, and ultimately repair what’s going wrong in their intimate relationships. Family therapy sessions are usually short-term, about 12 sessions, and solution-focused. They can save moms, dads, grandparents, kids, and other family members a lot of pain and struggle by providing expert guidance.
The Importance of Family Therapy
Lessons you learn in family therapy can improve your communication skills with everyone, not just your intimates. Thriveworks family therapists in Modesto, CA can help guide you through practical techniques for improving the way you talk and listen to your fellow humans. For instance, family counselors can show you how to:
- Deepen your empathy for others
- Solve problems
- Be honest without being hurtful
- Reduce tension between each other
- Learn to manage your anger
- Help each other forgive
- Create a supportive atmosphere
- Reinforce what’s working well
Lessons from a family therapist can be practical, valuable, and can positively impact all aspects of your interpersonal life.
How Do I Know If My Family Should Be in Therapy?
Unless it’s been court-ordered, no one has to go to therapy. Seeking relationship counseling is a choice to strengthen your family unit and uncover your blind spots in your family dynamics. Therapy can be useful for every family, even if you’re not mired in conflict. But some of the signs that it might be time to seek a family counselor include:
- Physical or emotional abuse
- Individual psychological disorders
- Substance abuse in the household
- Difficulty managing anger
- Nightmares or bedwetting
- Someone has special needs or chronic illness
- Eating disorders
They say that a family is only as strong as its weakest member. If one person is suffering within the family, it tends to affect everyone. And an astute family counselor may decide that one individual should continue therapy one-on-one even after the family sessions are terminated.
3 Activities and Techniques Used in Family Therapy
Before you and your loved ones enter family therapy, it can help to know what to expect in your sessions. Family and relationship counselors employ a wide variety of techniques to keep everyone engaged and help them see each other’s perspectives. But every family is different, and a fun communication game that works well in a family with young children isn’t going to strike the same chord in a family with disgruntled, cynical teenagers. The following therapeutic methods can be adapted for many different types of families:
- Posing a question everyone has to answer truthfully. In this scenario, the therapist might ask everyone something like “What kind of miracle would you wish for and what are some concrete ways it would change your life?” Individual answers to this question can help a therapist start to conceptualize everyone’s goals and ideals for the future.
- Using an icebreaker exercise. Icebreaker exercises can be valuable in loosening up family members who have never been to therapy before, or who are intimidated by the therapeutic process. A family therapist might pass around colored candies, and each color is a prompt. For example, green might mean you have to describe a favorite family memory, and red might mean you have to specify something that worries you at home.
- Sending you on a family scavenger hunt. This fun exercise is great for families with children. A therapist asks everyone to go around the house and retrieve specific items that hold particular meaning for them, for example “something that makes you feel happy” or “something that makes you feel worried.”
All these activities can be helpful launch pads for discussing bigger pain points in the family.
Can My Family See a Therapist Online?
It’s never been easier to schedule a family session online through Thriveworks in Modesto, CA. Our family therapists can schedule online appointments that are convenient for everyone, and you don’t even have to be in the same town, let alone the same house. Plus online therapy sessions are affordable. These days, medical insurance covers virtual and in-person counseling appointments.
How Do I Start Family Therapy at Thriveworks in Modesto, CA?
You start family therapy by calling Thriveworks in Modesto, CA to get matched to a counselor. When you call the office, a real human will tell you about all your therapeutic options, and about the benefits of becoming a Thriveworks member. It might be hard to take the first step toward healing what might be hurt or broken in your family, but the journey is worth it. We look forward to helping you find solutions.