Is family therapy for us?
How to know if family therapy is what your family needs? Often times, the preferred type of therapy for some family issues is individual therapy for children. When that is the case, parents and children end up missing the opportunity to connect and communicate at a deeper level. Do you see your family in any of the scenarios below?
Do your children refuse to do what you ask of them? Are they rebellious and you don't know how to deal with it? Do you feel powerless or angry when your children don't listen?
Have you and your partner been having difficulties in your marriage due to blending the two families? Do you feel that there is not a family identity yet? Are you and your partner having more fights because of this?
Do you find it difficult to connect with your children since they entered adolescence? Or, do you have a small baby with whom you are finding difficult to bond?
Has there been a loss in the family (either physical or emotional) that has affected how you all relate to one another?
Have you, your partner, or your child been affected by a physical illness, and you find it difficult to communicate with each other like you used to?
Are you going through divorce and want to make sure that your children will be okay?
Have you and your family moved to the Netherlands recently, and are finding it difficult to adapt? Has the move affected the family environment and how you communicate with each other?
Are there any concerns, not mentioned above, within your family, which you would like to discuss in a family therapy setting?
If any of these scenarios resonate with you, take action and seek professional help. I will be more than glad to help you and your family reconnect and have a balanced family life.
How can family therapy help us?
Family therapy can help your family to communicate in more effective ways and become more connected, by changing the patterns of interaction that have made all of you feel stuck and unhappy. Studies suggest that family therapy is more effective than individual therapy in addressing young people's issues such as, anorexia nervosa, behaviour problems, and child physically abuse within the family. Family therapy can also be effective with other concerns such as divorce, parents - child relationship, siblings relationship, adjustment in step-families, families dealing with a parent or child physical illness, problems in school, or problems associated with coping with a child diagnosis (e.g., autism, ADHD), amongst other problems.
The bond between children and their parents/caregivers has been shown, in many studies, to be very important in supporting children and youth developing into adjusted adults. Because parents have a fundamental influence over children social and emotional development, a focus is given on improving the relationships within the family, in order to help children strive.
Overall, the focus of family therapy includes aspects such as, improving communication, setting clear boundaries and expectations, increasing warmth, and engaging other sources of support outside the family (e.g., family members, friends), when necessary.
How does family therapy work?
Family therapy works by meeting with the relevant family members to learn about their perspectives on the issues, which solutions were tried before, how the relationships within and outside the family are influencing the problem, which resources can be activated to support the family, amongst other aspects. Thus, in the initial sessions, I will gather information to develop a clear picture of the problems. In the next stage, we will discuss my findings and see if they match your views, and from there we will come up with specific goals for therapy. After this stage, we will implement strategies to minimize or eliminate the problems. Therapy terminates when we agree that the goals have been met, or that you have gather enough tools to be able to address the issues in the future. We might schedule a follow-up session, for a few months later, to see how progress has been maintained.
Which approaches do you use?
The approach that I use depends on the issues that are presented; however, there are a few models that I consistently rely on in my work with families. They are: Structural Family Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Behaviour Training, and Emotionally-Focused Family Therapy. Summarizing, my approach focuses on helping families develop a balance between providing emotional care and clear expectations within the family.
How often and how long therapy lasts for?
The duration of therapy depends on the particular issues that you bring to therapy. At the stage when we discuss the goals for therapy, we can talk about your expectations for the length of therapy with a bit more understanding of the problems. In addition, we can set up "evaluation sessions" where we discuss the progress towards the goals. That will give an idea where we are and where we are going in therapy. Session lasts 90 minutes and take place every two weeks, in general.