Family Therapy in Georgetown, ON
We all desire to feel close and connected to our family members. Your family may be experiencing high conflict where there is an abundance of hostility and blame between family members. Both parents and their children may feel that they are not getting the respect required to maintain a healthy relationship. Sometimes, relationships are dismantled altogether and family members are completely shutting each other out.
Parents often get stuck in negative patterns with their children (of any age), where their responses are reactive in nature, and often counterproductive. When engaging in family therapy, you will begin to understand the negative cycles blocking closeness in your family. This is more helpful than simply assigning blame.
Our therapists can help create new patterns of healthier, positive interactions where you all feel connected, validated, heard, and understood. Family therapy can help parents improve their listening skills, so they can pay close attention to their children's emotions and needs. We help equip parents with more emotional resources and regulation skills. This is important as, in family therapy, the majority of the work falls on the parents. We also support children to take emotional risks to help them feel emotionally connected with their parents.
When family members feel more connected to one another, they are able to engage in healthier family discussions. Each member can discuss their feelings and concerns safely and individual relationships within the family begin to heal. The family emerges from family therapy having learned skills that foster secure, happy, and loving relationships.
Who can Benefit from Family Therapy?
Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) is a short-term family therapy. It can be used for any combination of caregiver and child, including single parent homes, single child or multiple children, young children, adolescents or adult children. It can also be helpful for families where the main caregivers are not the biological parents of the children. Family therapy can be helpful even when the child’s level of motivation or involvement in treatment is low.
How Can Family Therapy Help You?
A family often gets stuck in a negative pattern of communication that leads to a disconnect between family members. Parents feel stuck in their efforts, often concerned that trying to solve the problems they have with their child will lead to more distress. This leaves them walking on eggshells, unsure what to say or do to make things better, or even resentful and angry. Parents might be afraid that they will push their child even farther away, causing them to run away, become suicidal, or decide to live with their other parent (when parents are separated or divorced). As a parent yourself, you may feel angry, resentful, hopeless and helpless. By processing and slowing down strong emotions such as these, as well as slowing down your reactions to them, you will be in a better position to hear and respond to your child. Your family therapist can provide the support you need so that you can feel more capable of handling any challenges with your child.
What does Family Therapy at Couples Therapy Centre look like?
Our family therapy sessions can consist of the larger family group attending together or smaller groups attending sessions alone. Smaller groups may include the parents attending alone, each parent attending with the child, and the child or siblings attending separately from the parents. Your family therapist aims to speak to everyone in your family system so that everyone gets to feel heard and share their perspective. The parent and child struggles are validated, their intent is clarified, their difficult emotions are expressed calmly, and they learn how to attune to each other’s needs. This leads to a feeling of security for the parent and child which typically results in less reactivity and harmony in the family.
What do you do in the First Session of Family Therapy?
The first session is information sharing. The entire family will be present (if possible). Your therapist will get to know you better, and understand your situation. You will share what you’re hoping to get out of family therapy and learn the process of family therapy that can help you achieve that goal. It is also an opportunity for you to get to know the therapist, ask questions, and determine a schedule for future sessions (if it is decided that family therapy is a good fit for your needs).
What’s the Difference between Couples Therapy and Family Therapy? How do I know which one to choose?
You will need to determine what your needs are, and who the key players are in the problem. If the difficulties are between you and your spouse only and do not involve or impact any other family members, you require couples therapy. If there are multiple family members involved, and your relationships with other family members are in distress, then you should consider family therapy.