What Stressors Do Families Encounter?
There is no doubt that families can bring immense joy and meaning in life. They may also be a tremendous source of stress, frustration, and even trauma. Most families face stress from time to time, but serious problems can result in deep resentment and ongoing conflict. These types of problems vary, but they might include issues related to poor communication, weak or nonexistent boundaries, major changes or transitions, and medical or mental health challenges.
What Happens During Family Therapy?
Family therapy isn’t about blaming a single person or event. It’s not about determining who is or is not right in a specific argument. Instead, family therapy is about providing each family member with the valuable opportunity to feel heard, understood, and supported. This process includes skills in active listening and healthy and assertive communication. It may also require establishing new rules, expectations, and emotion regulation strategies within the family system.
Typically, the overarching goal of family therapy is to strengthen respect and compassion within the system. Achieving this goal can be challenging because it may require undoing years of unproductive communication or habits. The work may entail discussing sensitive information and exploring painful feelings. Naturally, this process may result in people feeling upset, defensive, or underappreciated. That’s why many families benefit from having an objective professional to guide and support them through this time.
How Family Therapy Can Help You and Your Family
Deeply-rooted family problems don’t just disappear or improve on their own. They require analysis, exploration, and work. Family therapy provides a roadmap for healthier functioning. You and your family can learn new ways to communicate your needs. You can learn to set healthy boundaries that honor your integrity, and you can learn how to respect the boundaries others set for themselves. Finally, family therapy can help you support a family member struggling with a specific mental health condition like depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, or a substance use disorder.
Your family may be the greatest asset you have in your life, and therapy helps you cultivate a higher level of connection, understanding, love and respect.