Family units can be wonderful, protective and loving but also incredibly challenging. Families seek out counselling for a variety of issues. Relationship difficulties, adolescent behavior, members with physical or mental health issues and difficulties with extended family are just a few of the reasons that people access family counselling. Often parents bring children in that are behaving in a way that is upsetting for the couple and is stressing the family system.
Parenting issues can be stressful on the family unit. Whether you have a difference in parenting style or have a child going through difficulties and have a difference of opinion of how to support them, family counselling can help increase the families understanding of what the issues are and how they are affecting the family system. Families often come to counselling to discuss relationships, express feelings and to be heard regarding past family wounds. Counselling can help the family move forward in a loving way, where members have an increased sense of being loved and cared about.
I also specialise in blended families. Having a step/blended family is increasingly common, and has the potential to be exhausting and have difficult dynamics. Blended families are different than intact families in many ways, and take a long time to form and for relationships to solidify. People are often caught up in the excitement of putting two families together and may not consider all of the issues that are involved. It can be incredibly helpful in blending a family to do some counselling early in the transition, to prepare the members of both families and begin to discuss some of the wishes and fears that will be present. Blended families benefit from help in setting boundaries and understanding the alliances and relationships.
See my article Top 6 issues to consider when blending families
Some examples of why people seek family counselling are:
We need to come in, we aren’t getting along. There is someone in my family that is causing a lot of problems.
My parents and I would like to come in. I would like them to come in so we can change the way we communicate and have a better relationship. Now that I’m an adult we need to change things.
Our family member has died and we don’t know how to move forward.
Areas of Counselling Specialty for Families are:
- Family of origin issues
- Starting a family
- Changes in family structure
- Adolescent behaviour/parenting
- Family changes that occur with divorce
- Blended families
- Step families
- Conflict within the family
- Extended family relationships
- Caring for older parents