Each family is a unique system. A family is a unit made up of different individuals who all function separately, yet live and function together as a group. Each member has a different role, which evolves over time.
Additionally, people’s needs will change, and that will affect the way the family works as a whole. Each family develops its own “personality”, based on environment, beliefs, religious values, extended family, and many other factors.
It is the job of the parents to set the tone, and ensure that the family system runs smoothly. However, one of the things that makes running a family challenging is that there is no guidebook.
A family doesn’t come with rules, and children don’t come with instruction labels. Some struggles are natural and part of life, like moving grades and getting braces. But some challenges are unexpected and unplanned for, like a world-wide pandemic, or an addiction. Children turn to their parents for guidance and support, but who can parents turn to?
THE SYSTEM HITS A SNAG
Family therapy is based on the idea that when one family member is struggling with an issue, it may be tied to the way the family functions, and could actually be a sign of a larger issue. For example, when Dad loses his job, that may increase the stress and tension in the home. This could have a ripple effect on the whole family.
One of those ripples could look like the 16-year-old acting out in school, and being suspended. The child is responding to the increased tension and worry at home, but the piece that parents and teachers might focus on is his behavior.
This is a good example, because it highlights how it is more effective to treat the challenge as a family, instead of focusing on the individual. Getting everyone in one room helps each member see more clearly what is happening, and deepens their understanding of each other.
IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS
Sometimes, people picture family therapy as a more charged version of their family dinner table. Some folks may worry it will feel like an attack, or a blame game.
However, the goal of family therapy is create a safe, non-judgmental environment where everyone will be heard
With family therapy, people will be kept safe. The therapist will help each person verbalize their experience and the goal will be to see how the family can work better together.
It is not about finding someone to blame.
Once there is a clear picture of what is going on, the family can work on moving forward together. Confusion and lack of clarity create fear, anger and distance.
Clear communication sets the stage for the family to feel close and connected again.
Every system needs ongoing maintenance to function smoothly. Your computer will update on its own, but your family will not.
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The Center for Intimacy, Connection and Change is committed to providing the highest quality services to help you establish the connected relationships that you deserve.