There are many instances where family counseling can be incredibly useful. The idea of counsling used to be quite a taboo, but times have changed and nowadays most people recognise that counseling and therapy can be helpful for all of us at one time or another.

Where does family counseling fit into this, though? Let’s take a look at when family counseling could be the right choice…

What does family counseling do?

Family counseling is often used to help a family where one person in a family has a problem which is affecting the whole group. This could be addiction or depression or other issues where the person’s actions affect how the family works as a unit.

Family counseling can also be helpful for a problem affecting the whole family unit such as issues between two or more family members.

A successful course of family therapy can help family members in a variety of different ways, including:

  • Developing and maintaining healthy boundaries
  • Helping to form strong communication channels between all family members
  • Building empathy, compassion and understanding between family members
  • Reducing family conflict
  • Promoting problem solving skills

When do I need a family counselor?

To be honest, if you’re wondering whether you need a family counselor – that’s a good indication that one may be of help. Family counselors can be helpful in a wide range of situations, for example:

  • In a blended family where members are struggling to interact healthily
  • Where one or more family members has an issue which is affecting the entire unit, for example addiction or depression
  • Where two or more family members are unable to get along and this is affecting the whole family unit
  • Where there has been some form of tragedy or loss affecting the family (eg death of a parent)
  • Where domestic violence has been a factor
  • Where there has been a divorce

Essentially any instance where something affects the whole family unit could be helped by family counseling.

What is family counseling?

Family counseling helps a family unit to solve the problems preventing them from functioning together in a healthy way. This can mean helping to reduce stress and conflict between particular members, and teaching coping strategies that all family members can use.

What is the role of the counselor in family counseling?

In family counseling the counselor acts as a neutral observer who asks questions and makes suggestions in a similar way to a normal counselor might. A family counselor does not take sides or put forward a single course of action; rather, they ask each family member to put forward their opinions and encourage the group as a whole to discuss ideas and objectives. They help the family to communicate well with each other, without actually becoming involved in the discussion or issues.

A family counselor may make suggestions regarding next steps, especially if they feel one or more famliy members may have an undiagnosed condition for which they may require additional assistance.

How to choose a family counselor

If you are considering seeing a family counselor, there are a few points to consider:

  • It’s worth talking to the counselor to see what their approach is and how they work as this may affect your decision
  • Speak to more than one counselor so that you can see what different options are available
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your family counselor for references or examples of successful treatment
  • Ask how many sessions are typically involved

Family counseling can be something that benefits the whole family, so long as you are prepared to work and to compromise.

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Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.


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