None of us is an island, living in isolation. I believe strongly in family therapy as a way of addressing problems in the system as a whole. What affects one member of a family impacts other members of the family. It’s the idea that throwing a stone into a puddle creates ripples throughout the pond. Continue reading
Are You And Your Family Members Struggling To Get Along?
Do you feel like you can’t get through to your loved ones?
Are your family members not respecting your boundaries or your feelings?
Maybe you’re having trouble with siblings, parents, in-laws, or adult children. Perhaps you feel like every family get-together is full of tension and everyone is walking on eggshells with each other. Certain family members may have cut other members off, making it extra tricky to navigate holidays, weddings, funerals, and other familial events. There might be certain conversations that you and your loved ones simply don’t have because you know it would just result in a blowup. As a result, you may be thinking that it’s time for your family to seek therapy.
Conflict May Ripple Out To Family Members Who Aren’t Involved
Perhaps the tension in your family started with just a couple of people, but as time has gone on, it’s become increasingly hard for other family members not to get involved. Some people may feel stuck in the middle, forced to deal with other family members’ problems even when they don’t want to. Others may feel like they’re being used as mediators for family members to talk through, since hardly anyone will talk to each other directly.
If you find yourself stuck in the middle of familial conflict, we encourage you not to lose hope. With the right help and support, your family can repair broken connections and learn to relate to each other in a healthier way. As a therapist who specializes in providing family therapy, I’m confident that I can help you and your loved ones improve your boundaries, deepen your trust, and become better communicators.
Even The Closest Families Experience Miscommunication And Hurt
All families go through challenges as they grow and develop. No one is perfect, and in relationships, we are bound to hurt each other even when we’re trying our best. I believe that most of us have good intentions with our family members, but because family systems are complicated, miscommunication and hurt are inevitable. Finding ways to repair things can be difficult—sometimes fears about where we stand with loved ones can get in the way of owning our part in the hurt.
All too often, there is a period of adjustment or transition that leads to conflict within a family. This is especially common when children become adults, when those children marry or have kids of their own, or when parents begin to age and need extra care. Grief and loss can also deeply shake up a family’s dynamic, triggering feelings of loneliness and sparking new disagreements. During these times of transition, every family could use a little extra support.
On Your Own, Trying To Work Through Negative Cycles Is Easier Said Than Done
As best as some families try to work through their stuck points, they often end up missing the core problem. It’s all too easy to focus on the surface issues—the “he said, she said” arguments—instead of the deeper reasons for conflict, such as differences in values or coping strategies. In this way, negative cycles just end up repeating themselves and become deeply ingrained in a family’s way of life.
The good news is that these cycles don’t have to go on forever. A therapist can help you and your family step back, see your situation with fresh eyes, and understand why you keep falling into the same negative patterns.
Therapy Is A Chance For Your Family To Work Through Conflict And Deepen Your Emotional Bonds
In the heat of the moment, it’s hard to slow down and recognize where the conflict really lies. Emotions move fast and people are often too set on proving themselves right to notice what’s happening beneath the surface. As a therapist, it’s my role to help family members slow down and connect to their inner experiences. This can help them understand each other on a deeper level and communicate in a clearer and healthier way.
Although I generally meet with all the family members involved in therapy during the first session, I am flexible to whatever works best for your family. There may be times when everyone meets together, when family members meet individually with me, and when I meet separately with siblings, spouses, parents and children, etc. I will customize therapy depending on what the biggest needs are and where the most distress lies.
My Emotionally-Focused Approach To Family Counseling
The main goal of therapy is to explore the core issues underlying your family’s problems so that you can work toward interacting in different ways. I will actively engage with you and your loved ones to try and understand your experiences. This may mean that I interrupt occasionally, especially if things get heated or conversations go off-track. I want to help you slow things down and make sense of the emotional needs that are motivating your actions and perpetuating unhealthy patterns.
To help you and your family dig deep into your emotions, I use an approach called Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT). Instead of looking at other people’s flaws, EFT can teach you to redirect your focus toward your own emotional experiences. You and your loved ones will learn to communicate in a clear and direct way that demonstrates what you feel and what you need. You’ll also learn to respond to each other in a gentle, accessible, and emotionally-engaged way.
Above all, I am always working from a strengths-based perspective. I believe that you and your loved ones have good intentions and valuable skills already, and that if we understand what’s going on internally, we can understand what’s getting in the way of your ability to live peacefully. You don’t have to keep repeating old patterns of behavior. Therapy can help you and your loved ones reduce miscommunication and renew your love for each other in the process.
You May Have Some Questions About Family Therapy…
What if a family member doesn’t want to participate?
There is no pressure for your loved one to commit right away. If they’re hesitant about counseling, I can hold an individual consultation with them to talk about their concerns and make sure this is something they’d like to do. That said, there are times when it’s not possible to convince loved ones to participate. In that case, I can work with whoever is available and willing to get support. If your family members see improvement in you, they may be more open to seeing a counselor down the road.
I’m worried that I’ll get blasted by a family member. How do you handle conflict?
I work to create a safe space where everyone feels seen, heard, valued, and understood. Because of that, I will interrupt any behavior that is berating, abusive, or harmful. My focus is on slowing things down so that tensions don’t spike and blowups don’t happen. Before we get into the deeper work of therapy, I will have a discussion about honoring and respecting everyone involved so that we are all on the same page.
Therapy is expensive and there are multiple family members. Can we split the cost?
Absolutely! Invoices can be created so that multiple people can contribute to therapy. I will accommodate you in whatever way possible so that therapy is financially feasible for you and your loved ones.
You And Your Family Can Create Stronger Relationships Than You’ve Ever Had Before
I’ve seen so much change happen in families when people are open to the possibility of reconnecting and engaging differently with their loved ones. As long as you’re committed to working together, I’m confident that I can help you restore peace in your lives. To learn more about my emotionally-focused approach to family therapy, you can go to the contact page or call 303-503-5295.
When you’re a parent, there’s a natural tendency to focus on the big triumphs and the big failures. The reality is, there are a lot of little pieces in between those ends of the spectrum. Continue reading
In today’s competitive world, sleep is more of a luxury than a necessity. Sleep is important for the well being,... Continue reading