Benefits of Family Counselling and How It Works

Are you and your partner in the process of separation or divorce? Are you in search of LGBTQIA+ support, in preparation of coming out to your family? Are there communication issues within the family? Do you feel you and your family are having a tough time understanding each other?

These are examples of situations where we suggest seeking help. Families provide support, love, and belonging, when at their best. However, even the tightest knit of families have their challenges. 

Knowing how to resolve conflict within the structure of your family can feel difficult. Regardless of what situation your family is in, family counselling can help assess your family dynamic, steer through tough discussions, and in due time, develop into a healthier family unit. 

Below we’ll be focusing on reasons your family may want to consider family counselling, how it works, and the goals and benefits of family counselling for all types.

What is Family Counselling, and How Does Family Counselling Work?

Family counselling, or family therapy, is an approach towards improving and supporting healthy and functional family relationships. 

“Family” is a group of people that care about one another and call themselves a family. This includes parents, children, partners, grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, caregivers, and other professionals close to the group. 

Family counselling helps members of the family understand each other and gives tools and strategies to work through difficult feelings within a safe space. This type of therapy concentrates on improving communication and interactions between members of the family. When each family member feels they are supported and can work within their strengths, you can see positive change within their lives and relationships. 

Your family therapist may:

  • Speak about each family member’s hopes.
  • Encourage everyone to share their experiences and listen to each other. 
  • Clarify each family member’s beliefs, values, needs, hopes and assumptions so everyone understands each other.
  • Help families stop blaming each other and explore working together in creating positive changes.
  • Help family members understand the effect their words and behaviours have on other members of the family.
  • Help families speak about the challenges they are facing. 
  • Support families in working through their goals.

At Hopewoods, we use Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), which centers on connection, affection, and the family relationship. We look at the patterns within the relationship of the family, look at where there are issues, and identify your negative cycle so you are then able to take steps toward forming a steadier connection and establish more trust to move your relationship in a positive and healthier direction. 

Reasons to Seek Family Counselling

Each family is unique, and the reasons for seeking counselling can be complex. A family may choose to seek therapy after reaching a dead end in trying to resolve emotional or communication issues. They may want to recognize the source of these issues and learn strategies or family interventions to avoid these issues in the future. 

Conflict takes many forms and can occur between many family members or specific individuals. Family counsellors see many conflicts and health conditions, including those linked to:

  • Alcohol and drug use or substance abuse
  • Depression
  • Abuse
  • Parenting conflict
  • Developmental disorders
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Concerns in youth behaviour

One family member may be the center of the conflict, but other family members can be caught when trying to help. 

Some other valid reasons families may want to seek out family therapy include:

  • Changes accompanying illness, mental health and substance issues, unemployment/finances, moving, ageing, and trauma.
  • Relationship issues
  • Separating or divorce
  • Interfering In-laws
  • Parent-child conflict
  • Blended families
  • Worried about child’s behaviour
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Child separation anxiety
  • Childhood neglect/abuse
  • Wanting to foster or adopt children.
  • Support/management with mixed race, cultural, LGBTQIA+, ethnic, and religious differences within the family.
  • Issues with self-esteem, anxiety, and anger.
  • Stress and coping mechanisms.
  • Mental and/or physical illness challenges.
  • Major life changes (retirement, new baby, or death within the family).
  • Seeking a closer relationship.

What are the Benefits of Family Counselling?

Family therapy’s goal is to help everyone within the family to understand and support each other while also identifying and addressing any issues the family may be dealing with, which may be emotional, psychological, or behavioural. Family counsellors have a vast amount of knowledge of the family dynamic and aren’t limited to parent counselling. 

There are many benefits to receiving family therapy. At Hopewoods, receiving family therapy with us ensures that:

  • You receive the undivided attention between your therapist and you as a family.
  •  Your family develops healthy boundaries and improves communication with each other.
  • We address dysfunctional family communication.
  • We help your family improve their problem-solving skills. 
  • We give you a new addition to your network of support. 
  • We help identify any underlying causes of the above issues and more. 
  • You gain a better understanding of your family, and yourself, while you learn how to handle your emotions, set firm boundaries, introduce coping strategies, and promote healthy lifestyle changes.
  • We give you the tools for better expressing difficult emotions.
  • We assist your family in understanding the perspectives of each other through their own experiences. 
  • You learn how to recognize and honor each family member’s needs.
  • You learn how to instill a deeper sense of empathy towards each other. 

When to Seek Family Counselling

Ideally, family counselling is initiative-taking, opposed to reactive. However, not every family can predict “small” issues that may lead toward greater challenges. 

Keeping this in mind, there is no right or wrong time to begin family counselling services; whenever you choose to seek the expertise of a marriage or family therapist or counsellor, you may find yourself making a key step towards having healthier family relationships. Family and marriage counsellors work with the “end in mind,” so your family can use the examples and strategies you’ve learned when outside of therapy. 

If you’re seeking family counselling, there are several members of our team at Hopewoods who specialize in providing family counselling and may fit your needs. You can click here to meet our team today. 

Do you have any questions or concerns about our family therapy services? You can click here to contact us directly, or click here to book a free 30-minute consultation.

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