Family relationships are valuable. We believe that healthy family bonds are critical to the emotional, mental and physical development of children. They also provide a “home base” for every member of the family to return when life is unkind. When you have a safe, secure family connection, you can handle just about anything life throws at you.
Our Family Therapy Approach
Our family therapy process is based on the Emotionally Focused Therapy treatment model. This particular mode of counseling prioritizes repairing and building family relationships. It is our core belief that if family relationships are secure and strong then family members can work together to resolve issues in healthier, more efficient ways.
Oftentimes when parents and children attend counseling sessions they tell us the problems they are facing. It could be disrespect, rebellion, disobedience, conflict or any other number of challenges. When children are brought to counseling, they may be defensive and feel as if counseling is a punishment or that the counselor will take the side of their parents. Parents may feel guilty or as if they have failed their child in some way. Our goal is to help every member of the family system feel heard, understood and validated. We believe that all behavior, even negative behavior, makes sense if we understand its context and is an attempt to meet a legitimate need. This applies to parents and children alike.
In addition to understanding the purpose behind the behavior, our counselors will help you recognize and understand the cycle of conflict that you and your family are experiencing. Whether we realize it or not, most of our conflicts follow a similar pattern of emotion and response. Much like a dance that follows the same steps no matter what song is playing, our moves in conflict and disconnection are familiar and well rehearsed. Sometimes it is obvious what our patterns are, sometimes the moves are subtle and harder to identify. Our trained counseling staff can help you recognize these patterns and then help you begin to adjust them in ways that support connection rather than undermining it.
We often joke that we wish our children came with instruction manuals. Unfortunately, they do not. And not only do we not have a manual but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to raising a child and understanding their needs. Many parents struggle with knowing how to parent because they were not parented in a healthy manner themselves. If you are struggling with how to better parent your child (and every parent does from time to time), our clinical staff can offer you the support and assistance you need.
Have you ever noticed that when children play they are often mimicking what they see adults doing? Changing and feeding baby dolls, playing house, fighting epic battles with Army men, or building castles with blocks; children don’t realize it but they are processing the world around them through their play. Play is not only beneficial for children; it is critical to their emotional health and development. And for those children who have been through difficult situations, play can be a tool in their recovery and healing.
At Relationship Solutions we offer play therapy as an alternative or addition to talk therapy when a child is too young to simply talk about their problems. Our team has a Registered Play Therapist who can guide children through therapeutic play exercises to help them express painful memories, explore confusing emotions and help them share with their family all the things that are difficult to put into words. If your child is unable to participate in talk therapy due to age, maturity or intellectual reasons, our play therapy treatment process may be the help that you’re looking for.
Help for Teens and Parents
The teenage years are challenging for students and parents alike. You’ve probably figured this out but during adolescence your teen cares a lot more about what other people think than they care what you think. This can cause a lot of friction. This is when counseling can be helpful. Our counselors can offer a neutral, third-party perspective that can help parents and students feel heard, understood and valued.
While some students may be defensive at first and view counseling as a punishment, they are often able to view the counselor as a helper and part of their support network. Our counselors can be a positive influence and support at a time when parents feel less influential in the life of their teenager. Another benefit to family counseling at this time is to help parents and teens understand one another and help them recognize that although the relationship is challenging, it is still very much worth fighting for.
Individual counseling is available for teenagers, but we strongly encourage parents to be part of the process in order to help students meet their treatment goals more effectively.
Do We Need Family Counseling?
We use this example a lot but it’s worth repeating. The best athletes in the world have coaches. These individuals and teams, who are at the top of their game – literally – wouldn’t think of training and competing without a coach to guide them. This outside, professional, expert perspective is essential for maximum, peak performance. So if the professional teams see the benefit of coaches it makes sense that families would see the benefit of a counselor. Maybe your family isn’t struggling or suffering from dysfunction. We could argue that this is the ideal time to meet with a counselor and that with a little outside help you could go from good to great. From the athlete perspective, effective coaching helps most when the athlete is healthy and active. When the athlete has been injured then they need rehabilitation before they can get back in the game.
So if your family is struggling or if they’re doing great, the clinical team of Relationship Solutions can help you meet your goals so you can be the best version of you possible. Call our offices today and schedule an appointment with one of our clinical staff.