Out of everyone in our lives, we spend the most time and energy with our families – not just spouses, but children, parents, and siblings. We are all different people with different personalities, priorities, and needs, but in a family dynamic, we must all get along and work together, every single day. This is not always easy, and sometimes leads to conflicts and other negative behaviours.
When we are very close with someone, it can be difficult to step back and objectively analyze the situation – especially regarding our own roles and interactions within it. Emotion-focused, family therapy activities can assist in this process, leading to a more harmonious and peaceful home life with ripple effects that can spread far and wide throughout everyone involved.
marriage and Family Therapy
Though we cannot choose our biological family, we do choose our spouse – and learning to live with and respect our mate is a tricky skill to master. As a result, marriages often experience difficulty in some form or another, from a lack of communication or physical intimacy to more serious obstacles like emotional neglect, invalidation, or domineering behaviour. If habits like these are left unchecked, resentment can grow and fester at the heart of the relationship. The joy that once defined it and caused us to fall in love can disappear.
Partaking in couples counselling sessions or other interventions for family therapy can yield new perspectives and a renewed appreciation for the person you love and cherish. As long as you are both willing to work together, many relationships can weather difficult times and emerge stronger on the other side.
Therapy Strategies for families
Beyond the couples dynamic, there may be other issues to address within a family unit that require either individual or group sessions. There are numerous approaches to family therapy, with different activities and goals, so choosing one that feels appropriate to your situation is a strong step in the right direction.
One of the most commonly used forms of therapy for families is narrative therapy, which teaches clients to separate problems from personality and address issues in a healthy, meaningful, and practical way. There is no blaming in this therapy, and no fault is assigned for doing something “wrong” – instead, praise is given for being willing to work through problems. Collaboration and changing perspectives are a main theme of this approach as well, and all in all it is highly effective when employed for family situations.
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