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IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY COUNSELING

We live in a complex, diverse, and often hectic society. Technological advances have led to major changes in how we communicate and relate to one another – particularly in the constructs of the family. With a television and computer access in every room and a cell phone in everyone’s pocket, family members often listen but fail to hear, or hear, yet fail to respond. This breakdown in communications disrupts the family unit, changes the structure, and leads to disintegration of the entire household. Disruptive behavior erupts when members of the family fail to understand, “listening is an intentional action, whereas hearing is a perceptive event” requiring a response.

Family units are more diverse than ever with single parent households on the rise. The definition of couple has expanded and we see an increase in mixed-race, mixed religion, multi-cultural households. These differing beliefs, perceptions, opinions, and methodologies can put a family in crisis. When systems of interaction breakdown, emotions flare and feelings get hurt. Adults complain, children eternalize, and everyone wonders where it all went wrong. Improving Lives Counseling Services’ Family Therapy teaches how families function: relationships, obligations, responsibilities, communications, problem solving, and giving and receiving respect.

Children, in-laws, and grandparents once found solace in living under the same roof. However, socio-economics, educational advances, and life expectancy of the 21st century challenges multigenerational households. “A record 57 million Americans, or 18.1% of the population of the United States lived in multigenerational households in 2012, double the number who lived in such households in 1980.” Research shows divorce, medical problems, emotional problems and behavior disorders increase in these family structures (particularly when caregiving and eldercare is required).

Living with a generation who believes children should be seen and not heard conflicts with today’s child taught to openly talk about diversity, racism, gender, and sex. Conversations grandparents had behind closed doors are open family meetings, allowing and accepting input from the youngest adolescents and teens. The response of “maybe, we’ll see”, has changed to the honesty of “we can’t afford it right now.” Forced to grow up faster, a different spin is put on “children say the darndest things”; a spin many grandparents fail to understand. Divvying up chores, meeting dietary needs, housekeeping, maintenance, and deciding who pays for what can trigger disagreements. When grandparents indulge, in-laws criticize and parents are left to discipline, boundaries are blurred, responsibilities are ambiguous, and children receive mixed messages. Mental, physical, or emotional abuse and neglect of seniors, parents, or children can occur without warning.

Family therapy reduces stress and resolves conflict with regard for the individuality of each family member. If one member of the family is having problems, the entire family is at risk. The therapists and counselors of Improving Lives Counseling Services offer Family Therapy, Psychotherapy, and Mental Health Counseling to improve interactions between family members and the influence of the extended family. Marriage Counseling is required by many states and dogmas; Family Counseling / Therapy is the next step in developing and safeguarding the family. Children leaving home or returning home, extended family moving in or moving out, his children her children and the addition of “your” children, or adding grandparents who can no longer live alone disrupt the family unit. Each family member is affected and each one handles change differently.

Family Counseling / Therapy protects one of this country’s most precious units. It’s never too early or too late for Family Counseling. Ignore the stigma; be open, be honest, be prepared. Whether your family is working well or is in crisis, whether constant or dysfunctional, stable or pending major changes, the time to have the talk is now. Improving Lives Counseling Services can help. Call us.