Family life can be a place of refuge and security; however, for others it may cause hurt and frustration. Family life can be affected significantly by the stresses and strains of everyday life and the changes that occur. For example, a personal problem may seem overwhelming, a new member joins the family, or someone leaves or changes their position within the family leading to the structure to be altered for other members. Therefore these changes are interpreted, felt and expressed in an individual way which may be different for each member. At times these changes may leave other members confused, angry or hurt. How these differences and changes are managed is central to family counselling. This can be achieved by encouraging conversation between members of the family and collecting the views and thoughts of the individuals. Family problems might be mapped out to show their history and development, and allow members to understand the problems clearer and how they might have arisen, reducing blame. Family members are asked to observe these views and thoughts and are given the opportunity to respond. Thus, offering the group an opportunity to think and reflect on the present situation with a view to moving towards a better way of being together. Counselling can help establish the events that have led to the family needing help and can also help process feelings of being excluded or rejected, which might be otherwise acted out in disruptive behaviour and misunderstood by the other family members. Communication might be repaired or established for the first time. Members may feel supported and encouraged to manage changes with the help of impartial trained family counsellor.
Within family counselling I remain neutral and empower members of the family to explore the issues raised and encourage each member to express their concerns in relation to the family dynamics. We can then work towards understanding the current difficulties and ways you can move forward within the family.
Reasons for family counselling, but not limited to:
· Disruption after separation or divorce or a new partner moving in
· Problems with step-family life
· Problems with adolescents or older children
· Children leaving home
· Separation and divorce issues affecting children
· Eating disorders
· Mental health problems
· Drug or alcohol dependency in young people
Issues which might be explored may relate to one incident or a repeated pattern. They can include exploration and understanding of:
- The current problem
- How it is seen differently by different members
- Successful ways of dealing with past problems
- Parenting issues
- Characters of each member
- Alliances and hostilities within the group
- How the group functions emotionally – who is close and who is distant
- Who expresses anger or sadness and who comforts?