As the name suggests, family therapy is about providing counselling and assistance to families, rather than individuals.
However there may be times when the therapist wishes to see family members for individual sessions.
When Can Family Therapy Help?
There are several points in family life, which tend to drive couples to seek out help from a professional.
- The arrival of the first child is a major life change.
- New babies may trigger anxiety and jealousy in older children – or even one of the parents (!).
- Children starting school. Mums in particular may experience significant loss and grief.
Middle age people are sometimes known as the “sandwich generation” as they are caught in the middle of:
- Raising teenagers – enough said!
- Ageing parents requiring extra care and support.
- Their own challenges eg midlife crisis, menopause, the demands of their career.
- Coming to grips with empty nest syndrome.; or alternatively, adult children show no signs of moving out – “failure to launch”.
- Adjusting to retirement.
At each of these stages, families can encounter difficulties because the skills and roles required by the new stage are often quite different from those of the previous one.
Why See a Brisbane Family Therapist?
People come to see one of our family therapists for any number of reasons, but some of the most common ones include:
- Problems with maintaining appropriate boundaries between the family unit, and extended family (eg in-laws).
- Significant differences in expectations. What each partner may have learned and experienced in their family of origin forms their expectations. Difficulties and conflict can arise because of these differences in areas such as attitudes to money, and parenting styles.
- Emotional baggage carried into the relationship from previous relationships.
- One partner attempting to control or change one another.
- An inability to compromise and find joint solutions together.
- Family breakdown – separation, divorce and reconciliation.
- The challenges of managing family life when one partner has a fly in, fly out, job.
- Difficulties such as addiction, serious illness or even the loss of a family member.
Communication is key. However, dysfunctional patterns of relating to each other can develop over time and if not corrected, can become quite entrenched and very difficult to change. Without insight or help, one or both partners can begin to sadly or even angrily conclude that they have made a terrible mistake …
Our family therapists are skilled at assisting couples and families to discover new learnings, behaviours and skills to break free from the dysfunctional patterns that have bound and imprisoned them.
If you are experiencing difficulties at any stage of the family life cycle, make an appointment to see one of our family therapists today. We can work with individuals, couples, and families.