A family is a little like a sports team – in order to function healthily, communication and equity are key. But a family is unlike a sports team in the fact that family members see each other every single day and there’s no coach around to hash out disputes, promote healthier dynamics and facilitate dialogue. But a family certainly can seek external help. If its members feel that there are some negative feelings that aren’t being properly expressed; if one or more of its members is withdrawn or undergoing a change in behaviour; or if the family simply isn’t functioning properly, in the wake of a traumatic or life-altering event; if any of these issues are troubling a family, it can always see a counsellor.
Even families that would define themselves as perfectly fine would still benefit from a proactive approach to communication, as changes in situation and feelings can shake up family dynamics. Family counselling is all about how the family functions as a unit, and strengthening its members’ mindfulness and respectfulness of each other is an important part of that function. If your family wants to strengthen its bonds, promote cohesiveness and mitigate conflict, you’re encouraged to learn about family counselling sessions in your area.
When Should You Go See A Counsellor?
As mentioned, there’s no minimum requirement for this, nor is there a traditional correct answer. With that in mind, there are, however, conflicts (or cycles of conflict), situations and experiences that might require the help of a therapist to healthily process. If there has been a large shakeup in the family, for instance in the case of divorce, a death in the family or job loss, a therapist can help you work through feelings that are difficult to communicate, with an eye towards positive relationship dynamics.
Disconnection might be another issue that your family is dealing with. Why are some family members withdrawing, not partaking in conversations or family activities as they used to? It might be a normal part of adolescence; it might be an issue of different viewpoints; or, as with many of life’s issues, it might a complicated tangle of a number of different factors. Strengthening family bonds starts with understanding, and being empathetic towards, the different underlying issues that might be causing the problem. Having a therapist in the room to facilitate discussion and offer advice is incredibly beneficial in working through problems like this.
If a family has noticed that, more often than not, it argues, often about the same things and without ever any resolution, it’s time to try family counselling sessions. A part of what family therapy aims to do is pinpoint the cycles of conflict in the family, look at the underlying difference in values or attitude, and from there begin to work on mindfulness and problem-solving skills. Allowing cycles of conflict to continue can weaken the family structure. It’s better to come together and talk than to leave your feelings unsaid.
For many families, there’s a whole mixture of different issues going on, too much to make sense of sometimes! It’s completely normal for a family to feel that it isn’t functioning well. Seeking out family counselling sessions is a step in the right direction.