Every family looks different, and nobody gets to choose. Some families may be blood relatives while others are adoptive parents, foster family, grandparents, stepparents, or a close-knit neighborhood. Because each family is different, so are the dynamics, communication, problems, and issues within each unit.
Family counseling at Innovative Family Therapy in Louisville, KY works with each member of your family to provide resources and skills that help you to regain a sense of wholeness and happiness.
What is Family Counseling?
Our family of origin has a large impact on who we become as adults. We learn our vocabulary, habits, norms, customs, and communication skills in the home. Family therapy offers a healthy way for families to come together and create more functional relationships. It is especially helpful for families who are going through some type of transition, dealing with a specific issue, or if there are mental and behavioral issues within the family. At Innovative Family Therapy in Louisville, KY we work with all kinds of families using a variety of techniques including cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy or other types of individual and group therapy.
Reasons Why You and Your Family May Need Counseling
Many times, parents will initiate family counseling when there is a problem with one or more children in the home. However, behavioral, or emotional problems in children do not exist in a vacuum.
Developed in the 1960s, structural family therapy is based on the idea that emotional and behavioral concerns in young people are often connected to dysfunctional family structures. This means that a problem with one or two children of the family should be addressed within the context of the family as a whole. If your family is currently experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, family counseling may be beneficial for you.
- Blended Families: When two separate family units decide to become one it can create a whole host of issues. Each individual member may feel differently and communicate differently. A family counselor can help the whole family through this transition period.
- Disconnected Family: Maybe your family feels more like roommates. You don’t feel like you’re connected to those people you’re close to. If your family seems more interested in their cell phone than each other, we can help. Whether your family is separated by emotions or technology, a family counselor can start to build bridges to strengthen the relationships within your family.
- Withdrawing from Family: It’s normal for everyone to want a little alone time. But if that alone time turns into a complete withdrawal from the entire family, it may be pointing to a larger issue.
- Behavior Drama: Children that act out often have a reason for their behavior but can’t regulate it. They act impulsively and irrationally because their brains aren’t fully developed. Many behavioral issues are due to an underlying issue with the family unit causing emotional turmoil for an out-of-control child.
- Addiction: A drug or alcohol addiction affects the entire family. Although there may be only one addict in the home, the entire family suffers as a result. The actions of addict behavior can be extremely painful. Family counseling can help to heal the hurt and support the entire family in fighting the addiction.
- Secrets and Deceit: Sometimes we have trouble being honest and open with those closest to us. Secrets and deceit can be painful when it comes from teenagers, spouses, or parents. If there is trouble with honesty in the home, family counseling may be able to discover the root of the problem and pave a path to trust.
- Intimacy Issues: While intimacy is typically a marital issue that should be dealt with in marriage counseling, the strain it puts on a marriage can affect the entire family. Whether you’re experiencing an intimacy drought, withholding intimacy as punishment, or having difficulty connecting on an intimate level, family counseling can be a good place to start healing.
- Growing Changes: Family dynamics change over time. As your children reach adulthood, your role as a parent is not the same as it was when they were toddlers. As people grow older and your family changes, a family counselor can navigate the future without the bickering and fighting.
- Holding Grudges: Anger, resentment and contempt make for a very tense household. If there are past issues that were never dealt with, holding grudges can be like poison to the entire family. Counselors can provide a safe and neutral space to discuss these types of conflicts.
In addition, there are several other scenarios where family counseling is recommended:
- Any major life transition like moving, marriage, divorce, death, or birth.
- A family intervention for substance abuse/dependency, alcohol use
- A desire to build stronger relationship(s) between parent(s) and child/adolescent.
- The adjustment of a new adoption or foster care situation in the home.
- Conflict between siblings
- A family member with a mental illness.
- Sharing a home with grandparents, or having additional people living in the home.
- Families and children in the LGBTQ community
- Family members who come from mixed racial, cultural, or religious backgrounds.
Benefits of Family Counseling and Therapy
Family counseling is always a healthy decision. Having a neutral party to facilitate communication and handle complex issues is invaluable to every member of the family.
- Counseling and therapy helps everyone understand themselves better and their role in the nuances of family conflict.
- As you implement the tools from counseling, it can help to create new and meaningful bonds between each family member.
- Conflict is inevitable, but pain is not. Family therapy teaches to resolve family conflict in a healthy way.
- Family counseling can provide a reliable and safe source of support during life transitions
- Family counseling will inevitably always improve relationships as each person learns more about themselves and those around them.
- Learn better ways to communicate your own feelings and listen to others in a productive way.
- Improve the group dynamics and sibling relationships within the home.
- Experience an increased self-esteem as you strengthen your own abilities and relationships.
What to Expect from a Therapy Session?
When you work with Innovative Family Therapy in Louisville, KY our therapists use a 4-step approach to begin your family counseling journey:
- Initial Intake – This is what happens at the first appointment. This is general information, getting to know you and your family and the dynamics in the home.
- Assessment – This step usually takes a few visits. During this time the therapist is getting a deeper look into your family history, roles, conflicts, parenting styles, etc.
- Mapping the family structure – Once your therapist understands what is going on, they will map out the family structure to explore how people interact with each other, how authority and boundaries work and identify strengths and weaknesses in the family hierarchy.
- Creating a treatment plan – Armed with all the information, we create a treatment plan for each member of the family. The treatment plan isn’t about assigning blame, but rather it is about utilizing the strengths of each member and solving problems together.
Family Counseling and Therapy FAQs