family counseling

What to Expect in a Family Counseling Session

Deciding to participate in family therapy is a big step and an incredibly brave decision. It shows love and desire within a family unit to want to improve relationships and communication, which is usually a great sign.

What Is Family Counseling

Family counseling is a form of therapy which aims to address and unpack the many challenges that exist  for families. These can be issues related to things such as substance abuse, family recovery, traumatic events, divorce, or mental illness. By working through issues as a group, you can better improve communication, improve family dynamics, and address dysfunction and any long-standing resentment or bitterness. Substance abuse within a family is a very common marker for a need for family counseling services. Learning the skills to understand what another family member is going through, properly express care and concern, and be supportive can be extremely helpful for both the individual, the other individuals in the family, and the family as a whole.

What to Expect From Your First Session

It is completely normal to be anxious before your first session of family counseling. During your first session, you can expect the counselor to meet with the family and begin with a discussion to identify and understand the problem that brought you there. They will listen to every individual in the session to start to learn the family dynamics. For this to work, it needs to be a trusted safe space where individuals can be heard and not judged, so they feel comfortable opening up and being honest. If the therapist is able to identify the problem during the first session (it may take a small number of visits), they will begin to come up with a plan for treatment and set goals for the family to work towards.

How to Prepare for Family Therapy

Make sure everybody in the family understands why you are going to family counseling and is on the same page, especially if attending with children. Even this can be a difficult task at first, but when in doubt – keep things simple. It is helpful to express a positive, encouraging message or at least a basic desire to reach a better understanding.

Once sessions begin, your family members may be understandably nervous and forget points they wanted to bring up or questions they wanted to ask. Before your therapy session, you should write down any topics you would like discussed or questions you have for the therapist, or members of your family. This way things can better stay on topic and help everyone get the most out of the session.

Harmony Harbors Family Recovery

Harmony Harbors is a virtual counseling and online resource practice that seeks to help guide families through substance abuse and behavioral disorders. Family recovery is a form of substance abuse counseling that helps families deal with substance abuse and behavioral disorders together as a family so that the entire unit can better communicate and understand the importance and challenges of finding treatment (which comes in many phases and forms). Understanding family culture and dynamics, history of mental illnesses, and any triggers or current stresses, can create a full picture and lead to a more effective course of action and treatment. There is much to learn, and typically these tools are far from present when we need them. Furthermore, substance abuse recovery tends to shift the focus towards just one family member while it is very commonly the whole family that is affected. To learn more about how we can assist your family or schedule your appointment, visit our website today.