Every family faces a unique set of challenges. For some, it’s a lack of communication. For others, it’s a family member with a substance abuse disorder. Family therapy can help resolve these problems in your relationships, whether they are between a partner, children, or other family members. It creates a safe, controlled space for everyone to discuss their thoughts and feelings without fear of repercussion or ridicule.
How do you know when it’s time for family therapy? If one or more of the following symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to speak with a professional.
Changes In Behavior – Has your child suddenly started having problems at school? Is your partner avoiding you more often? Some changes in behavior are normal. Others may be a sign of discontent, or deeper emotional issues. When these behaviors have a negative impact on relationships and home life, it is time to address them.
Withdrawing Socially – Avoiding interaction with a specific family member, or the family in general, is a good indication something is up. While it is normal and quite healthy for teens to seek separation and independence as they get older, withdrawing socially can also indicate shame or self-esteem issues.
Difficulty Functioning – When someone is struggling, we can’t see their struggle. They may be having trouble concentrating, or experience short-term memory issues. This may include trouble planning get togethers, or socially inappropriate behavior. If someone is just not their normal self, it may be time to speak to a professional.
Traumatic Event – After a traumatic event, everyone deals with the trauma differently. A healthy way to deal with it is together. When a child or partner is having trouble coping after a traumatic event, family therapy can help open lines of communication and teach coping skills when they are needed most.
Highly Emotional Reactions – When a child or family member shows signs of excessive sadness, fear, anger, or depression, they are expressing themselves. Often, a sense of helplessness or hopelessness is driving these reactions. It is important to discuss why they are having these reactions, and resolve them.
If these emotional reactions become physically or verbally abusive, you must draw the line. When someone resorts to threats of violence, actual violence, or threats of self-harm, please seek help immediately.
Family therapy is a gateway to better communication and healthier relationships. It’s a place to explore our feelings about each other, and discuss them in meaningful ways. If you need help finding the right therapist for your family, contact Dean A. Aman, LPCMH today. Our team of compassionate licensed professionals are here to help.