It’s common for couples or individuals to go for therapy. But for some reason, a lot of families may be averse to the idea of going to therapy. Maybe they believe it will hurt their family dynamic even more, or that everyone wouldn’t be willing to participate.
However, therapy could be what ends up saving your family and uncovering deep-seated issues you either didn’t know about or didn’t have the courage to face. Let’s take a look at some of the signs that your family should consider going for therapy.
You’re drifting apart
It’s very common for families to have transforming relationships over time. While it can be for the better in some cases, it often manifests as one or multiple family members drifting away. Sometimes it’s because one of your children is growing up. In other cases, it could be because of hidden issues in their lives. Or maybe it’s because of your parenting or lack thereof.
Some families become enmeshed, for example. This often happens when the expectations of a parent become overbearing and children are not able to be themselves. The worst is that parents often don’t recognise this as it often comes from good intentions. But you can’t impose your dreams and expectations on your children without considering theirs. Family therapy could allow you to uncover these complex issues.
You’ve gone through trauma
If you experienced trauma as a family, then it might also be a good idea to see a counselor. Dealing with the death of a family member can be very traumatic, especially if there were different levels of involvement in the family. Someone who was closer to the person might start to feel resentment towards others or feel isolated because they have no one to speak to.
Other examples are families dealing with substance abuse, divorce, or relocation. It is often recommended that family members seek individual therapy in addition to family therapy if they want to better cope with the traumatic event.
The parent-child hierarchy is becoming blurred
As children get older, they will start becoming independent, and in many cases, more defiant. It will also be more difficult to enforce strict rules on a 16-year-old as you would a 12-year-old. As a result, they might start losing respect for your authority. It doesn’t help if you didn’t have much in the first place or were spending more time trying to be their friends than their parents.
Working with a counselor could help re-establish order inside the house. It will also help you have a healthier relationship with your children, and make sure that you don’t make the same parenting mistakes with your younger children. Therapy could give you the tools to become a better parent, which will be useful for the future.
These are all signs that you could greatly benefit from getting therapy with your family. It might be all that it takes to help your rebuild bonds and encourage communication.
Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.