Do You Need Family Counseling?

Do You Need Family Counseling from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

For many of us, the family is the cornerstone of our lives. It’s who we turn to when we need support and who we spend our time with when things are going well. But no family is perfect, and everyone goes through hard times sooner or later. Even a family that’s able to provide mutual support and understanding might need some help sometimes. That’s why it’s important to get help when you need it — up to and including seeking out family counseling.

Problems within the family can arise for all sorts of reasons: financial or emotional stress, difficult challenges for one or more family members, even the everyday stresses of modern life.

Who Benefits From Counseling?

What kind of problems might indicate that your family could benefit from counseling? The answer is: more than you might think.

One of the more typical issues in family life is poor communication or a lack of communication, especially between spouses, or between parents and children. Behavioral problems, such as anger, rebellion, domestic violence, or withdrawal from others is an all-too-common issue that can often be addressed by counseling.

Illness and injury can create unprecedented stress for families. Trauma such as severe injury or loss of limbs, or emotional or mental trauma caused by rape, abuse, assault, or home invasion — these are serious issues that could definitely benefit from outside help.

Marriage difficulties, such as frequent arguing and disagreement, or even separation and divorce, is probably one of the first things many of us think of when we think about family counseling. The same goes for drug or alcohol abuse, another common source of strife.

Parents struggling to help troubled children or teens who are having learning difficulties, problems with being bullied, or other issues at school could also benefit from outside help. The same goes for adults struggling with issues with extended family or dealing with the challenges of having a blended family.

Issues such as grief and loss and financial struggles can also be a major source of the familial difficulty.

How Counseling Can Benefit Your Family

Some people are reluctant to seek out counseling, for a variety of reasons — perhaps they feel like it’s a “failure” to ask for help, they’re in denial about the severity of the problem, or sometimes just plain stubbornness. But there’s no shame in asking for help, and counseling can give struggling families a leg up on handling the challenges facing them.

The primary role of a family counselor is to bring all the family members together so they can talk about their problems in a safe environment. The therapist can then suggest strategies and tools the family can use to help conquer those issues. Counselors can work both individually with family members and on a one-on-one basis to break down communication barriers, work on stress relief and conflict resolution, and help family members reconnect and strengthen the bonds that hold them together.

Ongoing therapy sessions can also help overcome the trust issues and grudges that often bring long-term strife to families, through group activities and individual counseling. They can also help with reaffirming intimacy between spouses or bonds between parents and children.

Where Can You Find Help?

Even if you have decided that family counseling is right for you, it can be difficult to know where to find the right counselor for you. The good news is, there are plenty of resources out there.

First, check to see if your healthcare insurance will cover therapy, and ask your family doctor for a referral to a mental health professional. They can help put you on the right track. Some employers may also offer an employee assistance program (EAP) that covers therapy and counseling, including those for families.

You might also look in your area for a qualified social worker, many of whom either work in clinical environments or have their own independent practices.

For people of faith, it may be an option to seek out some faith-based counseling, such as your pastor, rabbi, imam, etc.

A school counselor may be of particular help to struggling students or parents trying to help their kids overcome school-related problems. Public and community centers are also a great place to find qualified counselors, as well as rehabilitation centers (depending on the source of familial problems) or hospitals.

You can also find online referrals such as through the online service provided by the American Association for Marriage and Family Safety, or, perhaps best of all, talk to friends or associates who have gone through family therapy and get a word-of-mouth recommendation from them. Finally, though it may not be the first place people think of, universities or colleges where interns studying in the mental health field can be an easy and affordable way to access counseling services.

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