The family is considered the backbone of society. And although definitions of what constitutes a family evolve and shift, there is no doubt that a stable and functioning household is necessary for a healthy family and community. Unfortunately, we live in a stressful world that applies tension to even the most robust relationships. Whether financial pressures, health concerns, or relational struggles, many American families are experiencing challenges that put an overwhelming strain on the fabric of their relationships and make family therapy necessary.
Some families have developed strategies of resiliency to withstand these issues, such as a faith foundation. Still, even the “best” relationships can sometimes benefit from outside, unbiased assistance.
Determining family therapy that suits your situation is an emotional and difficult decision. Admitting that help is required can feel like a failure, and the family leaders may feel guilt or shame. However, deciding to avail yourself of family counseling can be a vital and significant step toward healing.
When to Ask for Help
Your family may benefit from counseling if you are experiencing one or more of these telltale symptoms.
- Family members can no longer function “normally.” If family members are drained, apathetic toward their typical responsibilities, or no longer interested in doing their part to make the family function daily, you may need counseling.
- Family members exhibit extreme reactions. If family members irrationally overreact to situations – whether through anger, depression, or fear – counseling may be helpful to get to the root cause.
- Communication has completely broken down. If your family has become prone to giving “silent treatment” to each other or cannot communicate in healthy ways, you may benefit from professional guidance.
- One or more family members withdraw from the family. If a family member begins to isolate from the family and refuses to engage with others, your family may need expert intervention.
- There are indications of potential violence. Sometimes family members excuse physical contact between members as “playful” or routine, but if these interactions escalate to cause pain or take place in anger, it should raise red flags. If a situation would be problematic if people other than family members were involved, you may wish to seek assistance before a tragedy.
- Family members feel hopeless. Counseling is recommended if your family members are resigned to the chaos and feel like “nothing will ever change” – yet do not know how they can bear it much longer.
- Children’s behavior at home or school has changed. When children need emotional support, their grades may begin to suffer, or they may start to get into fights. If uncharacteristic behavior manifests in your children, family therapy may be helpful.
- The family has experienced trauma. When a traumatic event occurs in a family – be it death, divorce, or addiction – it can affect the family dynamic in profound ways that they do not overtly express. A non-biased counselor can provide significant relief to those who need to talk.
Finding the Right Family Therapy Professional
Deciding which professional counselor should be invited into the most personal aspects of your life should not be taken lightly.
When choosing an individual to work with, online reviews and testimonials can give you an excellent basis for understanding their professionalism. You can also research their experience in family therapy and browse their website to understand their approach to counseling. For instance, if your family has a faith foundation, you will want to find a counselor that respects how that faith is integral to your relationships.
Denise Schonwald is a nationally certified mental health counselor specializing in compassionate family therapy and a range of issues that affect the family dynamic. Whether in-person in Sarasota or Lakewood Ranch or online via video conference, she offers a professional yet empathetic approach to the holistic emotional health of your family. Call today to learn more.