Living together, liking each other and getting along can be challenging. Finding your voice and making space for yourself and your loved ones can seem impossible. Family therapy is based on the belief that the family is a unique system with its own structure and patterns of communication. These patterns are determined by many factors, including the parents' beliefs and values, the personalities and roles of all family members, and the influence of the extended family. As a result of these variables, each family develops its own unique personality, which is powerful and affects all of its members.
Virginia Satir, the "mother of family therapy" suggests, family therapy is necessary to address family pain and heal a family's wounds. We may consider generational family of origin conditions; for example, how did family members before you manage stress, loss, and conflict? We may take a curious, investigative approach to how these conditions and others that you identify have informed your "role" within your family system. What are the subtle or not so subtle messages you got from your family of origin that may influence who you are within your family system? What did you learn from members of your family whom you admired or disliked? How does this all play out today, right now in your family? What do you want to heal, change or grow from?
I approach family sessions from a relational lens; assisting each person to explore with curiosity how they experience themselves within the family system and how they perceive they are experienced by their family members. With this awareness may emerge a desire to be seen and understood differently. You may find that you and your family members have more in common than you thought; you may learn to communicate more lovingly or honestly with one another which may increase your capacity and willingness to trust each other. We will work collaboratively to help you and your family members learn to listen reflectively, understand each other’s perspectives and to make space for different ways of relating to one another.
My work with family members may include:
- Helping the family focus less on the member identified as "the problem" and focus more on the family as a whole.
- Assisting in identifying conflicts and anxieties and helping the family develop strategies to resolve the issue.
- Strengthening all family members so they can work on their problems together.
- Teaching ways to handle conflicts and changes within the family. Sometimes the way family members handle problems makes them more likely to develop maladaptive behaviors.
Family therapy is most often used to help treat an individual's problem that is affecting the entire family, such as an addiction, depression, or behavioral problems. This type of counseling can also be useful for addressing family-wide problems such as conflicts between siblings, spouses, or parents and children.
Did you know
Families come in many forms - biological family, chosen family, adoptive family, poly family, foster family, queer family, traditional, religious and spiritual families and family of friends.
Relationship or "Couples" Therapy
Mutually agreeing to engage in couples therapy can be scary for some and exciting for others. Your partnership is my focus in couples therapy. We will work relationally and emotionally focused and with curiosity about how conflict arises in your partnership. We will work collaboratively to identify what might be useful in those moments when things feel insurmountable for each of you to feel seen, heard and validated; we will explore alternative ways of communication which will strengthen your capacity to meet each other on a deeper level. Trust and intimacy may improve or you may find that our work together may give you other insight that is useful for you to define or refine your relationship. There are potentially many benefits to emotionally focused exploration like learning to relate to one another and yourself in an authentic manner. A gem that can be the seed that grows your relationships in ways that you didn't know were possible.
Relationship or Couples therapy can help people involved in a romantic relationship or a relationship of their defining, to gain insight into how they function individually and in "relationship". Ideally, it can help resolve conflict, improve communication and relationship satisfaction. Couples therapy can also assist you and your partner in identifying an intentional plan to transition out of your romantic partnership and in to a differently defined one if that is what your preference is.
Did you know
Many couples who see a counselor are experiencing problems or situations in their everyday lives which is causing them stress to the point that they may feel unable to function at their best in their partnership. Couples therapy can enable them to view their relationship from a clearer perspective and regain their functionality and optimal well-being.Couples therapy can look and feel like family therapy in some ways.
I am affirming of all families and LGBTQQ+ identities.
No family or partnership is perfect and yours is no exception. Challenge
yourself to find something unique in a family member or partner.
Understand that there is no one exactly like them anywhere else.