How Counseling Can Help In Family Problems

Every family has its issues. But some problems can get to the point of needing professional intervention. Even if what you’re dealing with isn’t that severe, getting a counselor for your family is never a bad idea. It can help restore and even improve family relationships.

The definition of the family goes beyond blood relation or cohabitation. Families must also serve as someone’s source of love and support. This is why family conflicts affect all the other aspects of people’s lives: family dynamics shape people’s attitudes and behaviors. 

For instance, fighting with your parents momentarily distorts your perception of parents. If this goes on unresolved for years, your perception becomes fixed.

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The most common family issues are communication issues and constant arguing. These may seem like what all families go through at first. But when these issues aren’t resolved, they can get worse in time. For instance, constant arguing between parents may lead to their children’s trauma. This can negatively affect their academic performance and social life. 

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for family issues. Different families have unique dynamics. Because of this, we need to “customize” counseling approaches. Family counselors need to come up with solutions according to the family’s needs. With this in mind, what are the different types of family counseling? Which of these approaches would be suitable for your family dynamic?  

One type of counseling is Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). This aims to help families improve relationships through better communication and problem-solving skills. In this type of therapy, the counselor prioritizes coming up with solutions. The counselor doesn’t go through old problems, so it doesn’t bring up past trauma. So, how exactly does SFBT work?

How Solution-Focused Brief Therapy Works

In arguments, it’s common for family members to blame each other and dwell on what should have been. These seemingly small arguments can lead to their children’s resentment. This may even cause a bigger family dysfunction. SFBT focuses on finding appropriate solutions for addressing the issues at hand.

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Traditional psychotherapy offers fixed solutions for specific types of problems. But psychotherapists Steve De Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg came up with alternatives. They were more interested in paying attention to what people currently need. This led them to develop and come up with SFBT. 

SFBT takes a postmodern approach. They believe that the truth is in whatever the client presents. In this type of therapy, the assumption is that the client knows better than the therapist. Another belief is that families already have the skills to solve their problems. In SFBT, the therapist helps families unlock these skills. The therapist makes them see their problems from a different perspective.

Not only does SBFT reconstruct perspectives, but it also helps families try other solutions. If the current strategy isn’t working, they can always try something else. Here are some of the tools and techniques that SFBT therapists use in their sessions:

  1. Goal development questions. SFBT therapists ask the families questions such as “What do you want to achieve from this therapy?” The families are then asked to describe what their life would be like upon achieving their goals. This is done before exploring the family’s problem-solving skills.
  2. Looking for previous solutions. As families are believed to have the skills for solving problems, they proceed to look back on the past. To rediscover their problem-solving skills, therapists may ask questions like, “Are there times when this has been less of a problem?”. Another question may b,e “what did you (or others) do that was helpful?, or “when was the last time when something like this (client’s goal description) happened?
  3. Present and future-focused questions. SBFT avoids dwelling on the past or the origin of problems. The therapist focuses on the family’s current situation and planning future actions. An example of this question is, “What will you be doing in the next few weeks that would tell you that you are making progress?
  4. Coping questions. Coping questions are useful for reminding clients of their resiliency. Some examples of these questions are, “how have you managed to carry on?” or “how have you managed to prevent things from becoming worse?

SBFT relies on collaboration. From goal-setting to implementing solutions, the therapist and the family work closely together. The family is more likely to follow through with strategies if they’re the ones who developed them. Needless to say, the participation of the family is integral to the process.

Other Types Of Counseling For Your Family

SBFT is effective in addressing a broad range of family problems. But if you think that SBFT does not suffice, then you can always switch your approach. There are other types of counseling that focus on specific types of problems.

One of these types of family counseling is Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). This approach addresses children’s behavioral problems. It involves encouraging and coaching parents or caregivers on interacting with their children. PCIT has proven to be effective for abused and at-risk children. This therapy has also helped children with disabilities and mental health concerns.

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In healing early childhood trauma,  Family Attachment Narrative Therapy is also an option. In this type of therapy, counselors train parents or caregivers. They construct narratives that will help in the child’s healing process. This method improves the quality of bonds. Children also learn how to reframe their perspectives in life. They remove their negative perceptions. It might also help cope with the long-term effects of childhood trauma.

There is no such thing as a “perfect” family. All families go through rough patches. Sometimes, it takes a lot of time to heal. It is by actively seeking solutions to these problems that family relationships strengthen. Getting a family counselor eases the process of resolving issues. Through guidance and coaching, families can find healing and restoration of relationships. 

If you are currently going through issues, remember that things can get better. With the right tools, your relationship with your family will improve. To know more about family counseling, contact your local mental healthcare provider. Discuss different options and programs that would suit you and your family’s needs.

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