Have you been going back and forth with your decision to get family counseling? Do you find yourself feeling resolute about the idea, and then backing down from it? If you’re feeling a little unsure, know that you’re not alone.
Going into therapy, whether as an individual, couple or as a family is not something many people are comfortable with. In fact, there are a number of misconceptions surrounding the idea of going into family therapy. Below are the most common ones:
1. Only families in trouble require therapy.
It’s true that family crises such as the death of a family member, divorce, or abandonment issues usually require family therapy. However, not all families going into therapy or undergoing counseling are saddled with problems of crisis proportions.
Some of them go into therapy to improve communication or prevent misunderstandings. Others come to discuss dissenting opinions regarding how the family finances should be handled or how to discipline a child. Any type of family matter can be discussed with a family counselor who can provide an objective perspective on the matter.
2. Only people who are bad at parenting need help with their kids.
Parents only want the best for their children. But a lot of parents today struggle with juggling priorities of daily living: childcare, work, household chores, finances, and the desire for self-fulfillment or practicing a certain degree of self-care.
Dealing with a difficult teenager or child can add to the stress, which can leave parents feeling hopeless, frustrated, and defeated. Again, you are not alone. It also takes a truly loving and concerned parent to admit that they need help in caring for their kids and addressing issues that directly affect them. By seeking counseling for teenagers or troubled children, parents are initiating healing in what may be problematic home relations.
3. A family counselor’s job is to fix broken relationships.
Family counseling is more about helping individuals in a family successfully navigate the changes that are happening or are about to happen in their lives. The family counselor helps facilitate family discussions so that each session yields something fruitful, or helps specific individuals overcome barriers to communication and understanding.
A divorcing couple may expect a counselor to save their marriage, for example. However, this is not the goal of the counselor. Only the two people involved can decide if their relationship is worth solving. What the counselor does is act as a bridge for proper, healthy communication to take place. In the end, whether or not the relationship is saved, family members leave the session feeling less burdened, unhappy, and angry.
4. Family counseling is too expensive.
Any type of healthcare, including mental healthcare, involves a specific fee or expense, so family therapy is no different. To prepare for this, be sure to check if your insurance covers family counseling. You can also check with your employer if you can get financial assistance for this type of healthcare. Moreover, you can check with your counselor if they give sliding fee programs for clients who wish to avail of their services but cannot afford it at the moment.
5. All family members get equal time to talk.
Ideally, of course, a family therapist would want to give each family member equal time to talk about what’s bothering them or what issues they are dealing with. However, even in families, individual family members may have individual needs. Some need more time before they can open up, while others may require additional private sessions, instruction, or more time for listening.
Have you decided yet?
If you’re still deciding whether or not family counseling can help with your concerns at home, please do to reach out to us at East Bay Relationship Center.
We’re ready to help, any time you are ready to talk.