The family is the most important connection that humans have with one another. Societies formed around family units and without our connection to each other and our biological instinct to protect our families, humans may not have evolved and advanced the way they have.
However, not all families are without troubles, stress or conflict. The key to having and keeping a successful family unit moving forward is to be able to understand and identify the needs of the individual members and balance those with the well- being of the family unit. Family Counseling is a unique form of therapy that can help with blending those needs.
If you are thinking about family counseling, that in itself is a good signifier that you need it; however, if you are still up in the air about it, these ten reasons why you may need family counseling should push you in the right direction if any of them apply to your family.
#1 – The Blended Family
A blended family is when two separate family units decide to become one. This can happen when one person with two children marries someone else that has one child. A blended family can also occur when someone without kids marries someone who does, or in the same situation, the couple then has children of their creating half-siblings.
These types of families can be difficult to navigate, especially when there are other parents from the previous relationships still involved in the children’s life. The Step-parent role can be extremely hard to navigate and creating boundaries while still having a harmonious family unit where all members feel heard and acknowledged as one of the most difficult aspects of blended families. Family counseling can help you with these changes in family units.
#2 – The Disconnected Family
Are you noticing that your family doesn’t talk anymore? Are your teenagers sitting around the dinner table tweeting and getting the most likes on Facebook rather than telling you about their day? Do you find yourself reaching for your phone to check your messages before you even get out of bed in the morning? Do you know who your husband went to lunch with before he updated his Instagram feed and tagged you rather than calling you on the phone?
The more connected we are to our phones and virtual worlds, the less connected we are with the people who mean the most to us. Family counseling can help families who aren’t communicating effectively get unplugged from the electronics and back in tune with each other.
#3 – The Loner
Teenagers can be moody, and adolescents begin to have a desire for privacy. Sometimes your wife may want a day to herself to get away from the crying, snotty toddler, or your husband may long for a weekend fishing trip with the guys. Wanting some alone time is normal for everyone, no matter what age you are.
But if you see a family member withdrawing from the family, preferring to stay in their room rather than come down for dinner every night, or not socializing with their friends, or family anymore, this can become a major problem.
Often, people who slowly withdraw increasingly as time goes on may be suffering from depression or other mental health issues that need to be addressed. Other times, a family member, especially a child, who withdraws can be signaling abuse. No matter the reason, Family counseling can help you connect with this person.
#4 – The Drama Queen
If you are a parent, there has been a time where you were a teenager, so you know that teenagers need to come with a whole other set of instructions that you will never get. Teenage years are full of emotion, angst, and questioning; however, if your teen is having frequent meltdowns and getting overly emotionally, this may be a sign of an underlying issue.
Children that act out often do not for a reason for their behavior. Most people have trouble regulating their emotions until their brains are fully developed around age 22-25, and others never quite get a grip on it. Family counseling can help identify the underlying issues happening in your family that is causing emotional torment for your children and family.
#5 – The Addict
Addiction can affect anyone in the family from your spouse to your teen or extended family members. Even if the addict is not in your immediate family, the consequences of their actions may be felt strongly still. Alcohol and drug abuse can be hard to come to terms with, especially when there is a strong history or lack of history of drug and alcohol use in the family.
Whether your loved one needs an intervention, rehab services or counseling, the entire family will benefit from family counseling and learning how to support each other and fight addiction together.
#6 – The Secret Keeper
Having secrets, or certain things you keep to yourself is natural and healthy. While being an open book can be important in a family and communication is essential in marriage, having a few things you keep to yourself shouldn’t hurt anyone. However, if you find yourself constantly keeping things from your spouse or arranging thing purposely for your spouse to not find out, this behavior is deceitful and secretive and can lead to some major marriage blow ups.
Family counseling can help you,and your spouse discovers the underlying cause of the distance created between you and why secrets are being kept. A family counselor can also help to bridge the communication gap you are experiencing with your partner.
#7 – The Sexual Drought
According to numerous studies, partners should have sex at least once per week to maintain intimacy and closeness. Waiting longer than a week to be intimate with your partner is proven to lead to distance and lack of openness and struggles with communication. There are many reasons why couples go through a sexual drought. Sometimes it is because of medications or hormone imbalances lowering our libido, other times it can be due to something internal with the relationship.
A lack of intimacy in a relationship can be signs of communication struggles, depression, disconnect or simply not making enough time for each other. Often, when couples are having trouble with theintimacy, they begin to have trouble in other areas of their relationship as well which can lead to bickering and fighting. Family counseling can be the key to reconnecting with your partners physically and emotionally.
#8 – Intimacy As Punishment
When your husband or wife doesn’t do the dishes when they say they would or messages a past partner on Facebook to see how they are doing, do you withhold intimacy as punishment for their actions? You should never feel as though you have to punish your partner. In a relationship, two people should work together for a mutually beneficial solution to their issue, not punish each other.
Withholding intimacy is the easiest way to manipulate our spouses and sometimes, we may not even realize we are doing it. This behavior can cause a huge lack of balance in a relationship and lead to resentment and anger. Family Counseling can help you to find better ways of communicating your needs with your spouse.
#9 – Growing Apart
People naturally grow and change as they get older. In a relationship, sometimes we need to adapt to the way our families change and grow. When children are teenagers, adult parents get the chance to think about the way they want to live their lives when their kids are out of the house and, at times, family members can have very different ideas of what this looks like.
You may want to move to the mountains while your spouse wants to adventure around the world. You may have a child at home that wants to stay put because they are going to college at home and they don’t want to move out.
A family counselor can help your family navigate its future without the bickering and fighting, and with open lines of communication with a neutral mediator.
#10 – Holding Grudges
When one of the units of a family is holding a grudge, it can be felt by and affect the entire family. If you are constantly holding it over your husband’s head that he lost 1,000 dollars in a drunken weekend at the horse betting track ornagging your wife about the time she wrecked your favorite car after you told her not to drive it, or your daughter hasn’t spoken to your other daughter in weeks because one stole the other’s boyfriend, you may need family counseling.
Holding grudges is poison to a family that builds resentment, anger, and contempt. These feelings often lead to fighting and unnecessary bitterness. Sometimes we don’t even remember why we are mad at the person because we have held the grudge for so long, we just know we are mad. Family counseling is there for your family when the walls of trust and communication are breaking down.
There are many reasons why families benefit from counseling. Not all of theindicators for a therapy need are listed here, but often, families that are experiencing something,not on the list will also be experiencing one that is. To find out more about how family counseling can help your family start talking to a therapist today.