Family Therapy

Has a member of your family started to cause problems that effect your entire household? Do you feel like you have lost control of your children and want to regain it? Do conflicts with your children affect the quality of your marriage and other relationships? While individual therapy or couples counseling might help to solve the problems that you face, you might see the quickest results by seeking family therapy.

Family therapy differs from other forms of therapy in a number of ways. First, you will participate in therapy with all members of the family. Second, I often work with a co-therapist when I do family work, so you will receive the benefits of two professional perspectives on the workings of your family. Finally, the solutions that you will uncover will serve to reshape the entire family and not just the person identified as a patient.

When I work with your family, I will usually try to understand why the person (or people) in your family started to have problems. While the problem behavior certainly causes unpleasantness for your family's day-to-day living, we may also try to understand how that behavior also happens to benefit the family in unexpected ways. Once we understand all of the impacts of negative behaviors, I will help you to come up with alternative patterns that might serve your whole family better.

You might find the results of family therapy surprising. The changes that you ultimately make might occur with different people from those that originally displayed problems. As you start to see how your family works as a system where each member's behaviors have causes and effects on the other family members, you, too will develop tools for solving problems that come up down the road.

Here are some of the things I will help you to examine in family therapy with me.

What structures exist in your family? Do you have a strong parental bond that exerts control over the other family members? Do alliances exist with your family that keep certain members distant from each other?
What phases of family life impact your family? How do newborns change your family dynamic? Do you have adolescent children who might be ready to leave the house for college or work? Do you need to take steps to define your family relative to your parents, in-laws and other outside forces?
Does you and members of your family have a degree of emotional independence from others in the family? Or, do you tend to get emotional when others express emotion, causing family meltdowns?
Do issues like alcohol and substance abuse affect your family? Do patterns concerning eating or eating disorders disrupt family flow?
What forces outside your family serve to balance your family life, both positively and negatively? Do you interact with your community? Do you take advantage of your friendships to offer a broader perspective on family issues? Do some friends serve to distract your family from coherent progress?
What rituals exist within your family and do they reflect your values and beliefs?

As part of family therapy, I will often request that family members who have any role in an issue come to our sessions. I will expect that all family members make a commitment to coming to therapy sessions. While I may choose to see subsets of your family at various times, I will need you all to agree that to make yourself available (even when you might not see the point in it) so that we can examine the entire family structure and make changes most effectively.