Horizon Blog

Does your family need counseling?

November 2nd, 2016

Father and teen in family therapyFamilies can benefit from therapy when there is anything stressful happening that may strain or damage family relationships, such as:

  • financial hardship,
  • divorce,
  • a death in the family
  • substance abuse.

Family therapy can be especially helpful to individuals who are being treated for addiction because it can not only get to the root of issues that may have led to the addiction, but it can help resolve family-wide problems such as communication styles, conflicting personalities, and negative behaviors or influences.

When to Seek Family Counseling
Instead of addressing problems on a one-to-one basis, family counseling recognizes that the problem impacts many people, so the solution should involve all family members working together and supporting the individual who has the problem.

The idea is that treating only the person with the problem is like treating the symptoms of a disease without addressing the disease itself. Also, family therapy is more solution-focused and is generally shorter and more specific, with defined end goals.

How Family Therapy Works
Family counseling is usually provided by licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT). Other mental health professionals—such as professional counselors, social workers, and psychologists—may have received formal training in family therapy approaches, also.

Family systems therapy is based on the belief that the internal dynamics of the family system can produce and sustain problematic behaviors in family members. All family therapy approaches are designed to help families improve communication, problemsolving, and coping skills, and strengthen their sense of connection to one another. Certain participants may be given assignments as part of therapy, such as communicating with each other in a different manner or parents delegating more responsibilities to children.

Family counseling is conducted in a variety of settings including family counseling service offices, community agencies, and residential treatment centers. The number of family members who attend each session may vary, depending on therapy goals, and sometimes therapists will offer individual sessions to supplement the family sessions. The therapist will work with everyone to have them take responsibility for problems and for changing their behavior patterns if necessary.

What Are The Benefits Of Family Therapy?
When the family works together, it can help an individual struggling with substance use disorder:

  • Understand how their family functions.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses within the family system.
  • Set goals and develop strategies to resolve challenges.
  • Improve communication skills.

Family therapy is often one component of treatment for addiction, eating disorders or other illnesses. If you think your family would benefit from exploring this option, or if it has been recommended to you, please contact Horizon Health Services at (716) 831-1800 to find out what we can do for you.

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