Gone are the days when a taboo still existed around submitting to counselling. Nowadays, many are willing to go for this option in the hopes of resolving their personal issues and conflicts with the help of a professional. As for families coming up against such difficulties, this refers to going for family counseling.
As its name suggests, family counseling aims to address emotional problems, behavioral matters, and psychosocial difficulties that may have deeply caused the problem and challenges that families go through.
If your family faces recurring problems that you may have failed to resolve, you might recognize the need to submit to professional counseling from therapy centers like Insight Northwest Counseling. Doing so may help resolve the root causes as to why conflict arises in the family and may help improve and strengthen your familial bond.
On top of fixing familial relationships, here are some of the ways by which families can also benefit from counselling:
It helps develop your listening skills
Developing listening skills as a family is very important. It is inevitable for families to go through problems and difficulties once in a while. And, one of the most effective ways to solve those problems is to practice good listening skills.
Unfortunately, even for members of the same family, the ability to listen well, honestly, and effectively may not always be there. It’s especially because you’ve already gotten so accustomed to each other that perhaps you might think you don’t have to listen to each other. But, remember that learning to listen well is an important facet of good communication and maintaining good familial relationships.
So, if your family has been struggling in this regard, you’ll find that having therapy sessions from professional counselors greatly helps. They can help you develop your listening skills so you can be a better listener to those around you.
Some of the tips you might learn from professional counseling include:
- Practise being a good listener when a family member opens up to you about something.
- Provide feedback or response, when needed, but never interrupt.
- Limit any judgements you may have if your belief is different from that which your family member is talking about.
It may help improve your family’s communication
One of the top factors that may contribute to broken or tarnished family relationships is when there isn’t any open line of communication. It can mostly be the case that the children are afraid to open up to their parents. When children grow older, they may keep things to themselves since they have been accustomed to this when they were younger.
This is when closed doors of communication begin. The same is true for the parent-spouses when, rather than resolving conflicts, they’d rather stay quiet and let time take its course.
Submitting to professional counseling can help your family open doors of communication that were once already closed. This is very important in maintaining and preserving good family relationships for the following reasons:
- It enables your family to learn how to understand each other more, with the end goal of avoiding conflict.
- It encourages support for one another, especially when a member of your family is going through tough times.
- It may help your family form tighter bonds now that open lines of communication are present and there’s no inhibition or fear of talking to each other.
It enables you to learn how to avoid family conflict
One of the reasons why you may have decided to talk with a professional counselor is that a family conflict is now ensuing. And, as hard as you may have tried to resolve it, you’ve always been unsuccessful in that pursuit.
This is where going to professional counseling helps. The counselors are experts who don’t just help you resolve conflict but avoid them in the first place. This is especially helpful if you’ve noticed the conflicts to be recurring.
Generally, these are the most common causes of conflicts in families:
- Disagreements over the way of doing things
- Parents who regularly argue leaving the children torn in-between
- New step-parents or step-siblings are introduced into the family
- Money, such as when a parent is gone, then the children left are fighting over their inheritance
- In-law-related conflicts on decisions relating to how to raise children, for instance
It teaches your family how to cope with certain situations
Another common reason why problems arise in families is when a family’s coping mechanism is weak. Perhaps your family has gone through a major loss recently and the grief is taking over your relationships. Learning how to cope is very important so the whole family’s dynamics will not get affected.
Other challenging situations may include separation, job loss, and health problems. A professional counselor can help you overcome challenges by giving you the following tips:
- Know and understand you’re not alone. It’s a false notion to think your family isn’t there for you. Even when you’re going through the most challenging situations, your family is always there to back you up. You just have to understand that you aren’t alone. Your family is there for you and all you have to do is to talk to them and open up.
- Feel what you’re going through. Masking your feelings won’t help you in your situation. Doing so will only result in unresolved feelings which will keep coming back to haunt you. When those feelings pile up, that’s when conflict may arise. Your personality may change and you can become distant towards your own family when all those emotions, anxiety, and stress pile up. Rather than trapping your feelings, your counselor will teach you how to acknowledge what you feel and go through it. For instance, you can express your anger by jotting your thoughts down or writing it all in a journal. This can be a therapeutic experience where you feel what you’re going through, without those feelings hurting or haunting you for the rest of your life.
- Helping others out in your family. As a family, you should always be there to help each other. If family members find it hard to help each other without leading to conflict, altercation, or coming off as arrogant, problems begin. The reason behind this is when individuals go through difficult phases in their life, they expect their family to be there for them. Family is always the first group of individuals you can run to when you’re going through challenging times. When you feel you can’t even approach your family for help when you need it, that’s when disappointments may start to arise.
It allows you to develop fresh insights about your life and family
Perhaps for the longest time now, your family has always been distant towards each other. There are unresolved feelings that have escalated to disappointment and hatred. You may not be aware of it but it could be that you’re seeing your family from a different angle. This situation is very common especially once there are teenagers in the family.
For instance, what you may have thought of as hatred and control is actually your parents being so concerned about you because they care for you. They’re just finding it hard to reach out and talk to you without that conversation escalating into more serious conflict because you’re very confrontational and heated.
When you talk to a professional counselor, you may be able to develop fresh and new insights about your life and family. Remember that your counselor is the third party to your family. They can see your family from an outsider’s point of view and make you come to realize that as well.
This means you may now see your parents and siblings from a different perspective, thereby offering fresh insights into your family. In effect, your familial relationships may improve, too.
It teaches you to think before reacting
It’s an all-too-common situation when, during a conflict or a confrontation, you may react immediately without even thinking about your reaction. In many instances, however, this practice can be another cause of conflict. Some problems in the family may become bigger than they actually are when the parties react immediately without even thinking thoroughly first. Or, in a burst of heated emotions, you may say things you don’t actually mean.
Your professional counselor can teach you to control those emotions. This means pausing for a few seconds and thinking about how your reactions will affect your family and whether or not you’re going to regret what you’re going to say. Remember, it can cause even more conflict in the family than is necessary when hurtful words are said in a spit of anger and high emotions.
With the list above, you should be feeling more confident now that you are already aware of the numerous benefits families can gain from submitting to professional counseling. You might want to push aside whatever obstacles you had in the past that hindered you from getting this. For as long as you’re in the hands of a good and professional counselor, family counseling may be one of the best things you can do for those you love. It’s a valuable asset for you to achieve your goal of keeping your family intact.
Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.