Within families, each person is interconnected with every other person. For rich or poor, for better or worse, the family is a system, and what happens to one person affects everyone to some degree. From generation to generation, families influence people’s emotional processing, social behavior, and ethical standards. When families function well, each person makes important contributions and each person’s needs are met, but it is common knowledge that families often experience dysfunction.
Life has a way of knocking families off balance, and they often need to make adjustments. Here are a few common challenges that families face:
- Spouses who disagree on parenting decisions and/or styles.
- There is tension between family members, and no one knows how to resolve it and restore peace.
- Family members who are repeating hurtful behavior, over and over again.
- Poor communication or no communication has resulted in hard feelings and/or distance among family members.
- One person’s anxiety, anger, or frustration is affecting other members of the family
When family members are working against each other instead of for each other, they may need someone outside of the system to help them regain equilibrium and establish healthy connection. Family counseling can help families name the specific problems they face and find a way forward that helps each member.
Thriveworks Philadelphia, PA offers family therapy because we understand that all families need help along the way. Family dysfunction and challenges are a normal part of life, but overcoming these problems and growing closer together is worth the time and effort.
How Does Family Therapy Work?
The most common forms of family therapy are family systems therapy and family structural therapy. The foundational concept for these is that people’s behaviors and identities are formed within their family. Some people may love their families and emulate everything they learned from their family. Others may want nothing to do with their families and react against them. In either case, to understand an individual, one must understand their family context.
Family therapists may explore how a family copes with stress, defines roles, offers comfort, and sets expectations. These concepts give insight into how a family functions. To further understanding, family therapy may also explore birth order, love languages, and/or personality types and how these contribute to the challenges a family may face.
When individual family members understand how they relate to each other, then appropriate adjustments can be made. The goal is for every family member to contribute to the family system in a meaningful way and to receive from the family unit in a meaningful way.
When families know and respect each other’s gifts and needs, they may experience more interdependence, improved communication, and a more harmonious family life. When families grow stronger together, each individual may experience benefits such as…
- Fewer instances of anxiety disorders and depression-related conditions.
- Secure attachments between children and parents that may increase children’s ability learn healthy relational skills.
- Fewer cases of neglect and abuse.
- Decreased risk of poverty as parents share income potential.
- Increased coping skills and capacity to manage stress and hardship because of increased emotional comfort and connection within the family.
Working through Problems Together
Think for a moment about the unique challenges within your family. Is more than one person affected? Will more than one person have to make adjustments in order to move forward? If so, consider coming to family therapy.
If your family faces any of these particular circumstances, family therapy may be able to help you grow closer as you face the challenge together:
- Hormonal changes within a child or parent that may be causing or exacerbating conflict.
- An overbearing parenting style with rebellious children.
- A family member with special-needs who has an unequally distributed schedule of care.
- A family member who has experienced addiction, neglect, and/or abuse.
- Deficient/no premarital counseling and/or marriage maintenance guidance.
- An overly relaxed parenting style with uncontrollable children.
- A marriage relationship with love/intimacy problems.
- Family members who have unmet needs.
- Hostility/tension within relationships.
- Especially stressful times such as death of a loved one or job loss.
Family therapy is not a quick-fix for these or similar challenges. However, it can be a safe place to acknowledge problems and find solutions in a healthy way and with the guidance of a skilled therapist. If your family is ready to put in the work, Thriveworks Philadelphia is ready to help.
Family Therapists and Psychologists at Thriveworks Philadelphia, PA
If family therapy is the right next step for your family, know that appointments are available at Thriveworks Philadelphia, PA. We know that getting the family together is a challenge, so we offer evening and weekend sessions. New clients often can meet with their counselor within 24 hours. We also work with many forms of insurance.
All families experience dysfunction as some point. Family therapy may allow your family to grow closer through the challenges instead of farther apart. Call Thriveworks Philadelphia to get started today.