Is Family Counseling Right for My Family?

Clinical Assessments - The Becoming Counseling

Families endure challenging situations together, and overcoming these difficulties sometimes requires outside assistance. When you and your loved ones are experiencing such circumstances, you may wonder what the options are for help. Learning more about family counseling and how it works can assist in developing an understanding of this type of treatment. 


What Family Counseling Is

If you are familiar with basic information about individual counseling, you already have a sense of what family counseling entails. With family therapy, however, you would have at least some sessions as a couple or as a group. In other words, you might have individual sessions to discuss certain needs or circumstances but then come together as a family to speak to the therapist as a unit. You and your partner might attend the counseling, or you may have children who come to the sessions as well.


Depending upon the exact nature of the issues, parents, siblings or other relatives may play a role in the counseling sessions. It’s possible that extended family members might be asked to attend for a couple of sessions with the focus of most sessions on you and your immediate members. The exact course of treatment varies from situation to situation.


Reasons for Attending Family Therapy

The reasons why people choose to attend these types of therapy are quite wide and varied. Ultimately, if you are feeling as though this course of treatment might work for your family, you should speak with a therapist. Perhaps someone in your family is struggling with mental health issues or an addiction, and these situations are affecting the rest of your family. Your family might also be going through a major change caused by divorce, death, illness or another circumstance. 


Another reason that families attend therapy together is because they are dealing with issues that they are struggling to work out such as financial troubles or constant fighting. After going through a traumatic event, such as a storm that destroys the home or a major medical diagnosis for a loved one, families may also need to seek out the help of a counselor. 


Basically, many reasons exist for why families seek out treatment. What ties many of the circumstances together is that the family members are going through a difficult time. However, most are eager to work through the differences together and find resolutions. 


When to Go with Your Family

Maybe you are not the one who originally thought of going to therapy as a family. For example, perhaps one of your siblings or parents is struggling with mental illness. Therefore, you feel as though you do not need to attend the therapy sessions. You might wonder why you should. Keep in mind that going to therapy can help offer a strong level of support for your family member.


Offering support for a family member and the family unit as a whole is a major reason why people decide to pursue this type of treatment. Also, you may want to attend therapy with your family if you feel as though you have run out of all of the other solutions. In other words, you might feel that you have tried to fix the problems that exist in the family without much success. Instead of giving up, allow therapy to step in. 


The Benefits of Family Counseling

Talking about your mental health struggles with your family or discussing a difficult relationship with a therapist might seem awkward. However, think about the fact that by doing so, you are obtaining professional guidance on an issue. Having an outside perspective can make you look at the situation from different angles. Also, you are showing your family members that you care. When your family does decide to go to therapy together, you are expressing that you care enough to fight through whatever the problems are. During these open and honest conversations, you can learn so much information about one another that helps your family to become stronger in the long term. 


Furthermore, you can learn about positive ways to handle situations that do come up in the household. The home is a place where people should feel comfortable, relaxed and safe. Right now, issues might exist at home that prevent you from feeling this way. Going to therapy can help to restore those positive vibes that should exist in your home environment. 


Counseling is a solution that has helped so many families to have more fulfilling lives with one another. Starting with a consultation is a smart way to find out if your family should continue with treatment and to learn about the options that are specific to your familial situation.


Wes Cain, LPCA, NCC, IHC



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