Who needs therapy? Part 6

Do we need family therapy?

Family therapy helps families become more functional by allowing as many members as possible to see how they collectively contribute to the difficulties the family the faces. As with all forms of therapy, it is best to enter family therapy sooner rather than later. It's also best for the whole family to get involved. Most families go through periods where conflict is on the rise. This is normal, and most families get through this without any help. It might not be easy to tell if your family is experiencing one of these typical swings or if you need a bit of additional help. 

Answering yes to one or more of the questions below may suggest that it is well worth finding a family therapist and discussing your concerns as a family.

  • Do the family difficulties interfere with, impede or impair a member's ability to function daily? E.g. do they leave you, or other members of the family, feeling repeatedly overwhelmed, anxious, angry, frustrated or despondent?

  • Are some members reacting with extreme emotions? E.g. sadness, fear, panic, rage?

  • Have you found that family members are unable to speak to each other, perhaps because things become too evocative, explosive, shameful or painful?

  • Would you say that disappointment, hurt and withdrawal are starting to or already define your relationships?

  • Does ‘drama' describe your gatherings?

  • Has someone in or around your family asked for or suggested that the family attend family therapy?

  • Is the family stuck in a destructive, repetitive rut, and feeling at a loss as to how to shift things?

  • Have you stopped laughing together?

  • Are you drifting apart? E.g. are you no longer able to say what other members are involved in?

  • Do the strategies that your family uses to face difficulties or address problems backfire or do damage?

  • Are any family members using drugs and or alcohol destructively? 

  • Are there signs of distress? E.g. poor grades, or eating, anxiety or mood disorders?

  • Is your family trying to negotiate difficult family circumstances? E.g. disabled children, financial crisis, mixed cultures, blended families, adopted children, religious conversions or divorce?

  • Does there appear to be a threat of violence?

  • Are you as a family finding it difficult to come together and face a tragic, traumatic or difficult life-changing circumstance as a healthy unit?

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