Sometimes, we think of counselling more as an individual therapy, rather than something that could or should be done as a family. While some of us don’t want our family members getting involved in our individual therapy, family counselling can actually be beneficial. Family counselling is meant to provide guidance for family members to work through all kinds of challenges, develop healthy communication patterns and build support between one another.
Ajax families who are thinking about pursuing family or couple counselling are encouraged to do a little research and can learn more at the Integrate Health Blog online, but this article will endeavor to outline what family counselling is, the different types of family counselling that are out there, and what you can expect when you visit a family or couples counselor.
What Is Family Counselling?
Family counselling is a type of psychotherapy that provides the framework for building support between family members, as even the most loving families can have issues that can cause emotional distress. These issues are viewed as more system-based than those of the individual, although individual thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are taken into account during family counselling since these things tend to impact other family members. Some of the most common reasons why families seek counselling are:
- The occurrence of a major trauma that affects the whole family
- The unexpected loss of a family member
- A child or children who are struggling in school and/or in social matters
- Domestic violence or neglect
- Adjusting to changes (including the birth of a new child or move to a new home)
- Parental conflict and/or divorce
Types of Family Counselling
There are a few different types of family counselling. One of the most well known is the Bowenian method: in this model, a family member is guided through the process of differentiating their emotional reactions to other family members and overall becoming less reactive. Other types of family counselling that are commonly used are Structural (which involves addressing hierarchical roles and the balancing out of power between family members), Systemic based (which examines unconscious communications between family members), and Strategic based (which involves the counsellor helping family members reframe negative responses into positive ones). All of these methods can be used to strengthen the family system.
What You Should Expect
Generally speaking, the overarching goals of family counselling are to establish and maintain healthy communication and boundaries, develop more sympathy and empathy, explore better problem-solving techniques, and strengthen relationship bonds. Of course, this takes time – families usually need anywhere between 5 and 20 family counselling sessions, but some families might need more or fewer sessions; it really all depends on the particular family, how they interact and how deeply entrenched the conflicts are.
Ajax families, like families elsewhere in the world, can use counselling to strengthen the family system, and there is no shame in admitting that your family has challenges. Even the most seemingly minor issues can be fleshed out in family counselling sessions, thereby strengthening the bonds that exist between you and your family members.