Healthy families promote the well-being of each of its members. They create an environment that fosters security, connection and joy, while supporting the growth of all members. Family life is also the context in which children can thrive. Creating a healthy family system lays the groundwork for future relationships and group interactions.
Problems in families may arise when an individual member struggles or dysfunctional patterns develop in the family unit. These patterns may cause unhappiness or conflict for any number of members.This could result from a partner or child’s emotional, social, behavioral difficulty, a major life transition, family trauma or conflict between members.
Families develop patterns of relating based on members’ needs. Unhealthy relationship patterns may take their toll on everyone. When one family member is hurting, usually everyone is affected.
Addressing unhealthy patterns will allow the family to work as a well functioning unit. To improve family functioning, I may see the entire family together, or different family configurations separately. At times it is useful to bring in extended family members as well.
Siblings of children with a diagnosed medical or psychological illness often suffer many ways and may need a place to articulate their feelings.
Family therapy may be the treatment of choice or it may be in conjunction with individual therapy.
Goals often include
Increasing members’ understanding of each other
Understanding why the family dynamic has developed and finding ways to meet members’ needs