‘Family issues’ refers to a variety of situations and interactions within families that prove difficult for one or more of the members. For example: parents separating; children becoming adolescents; a family member with a chronic or acute and sudden illness; death; financial issues; the birth of a new child; sibling rivalry; relations with step children; families and in-laws; a family member with substance abuse, an eating disorder or anger management issues; domestic abuse, and relations with grandparents, amongst others.
There can often be unrealistic expectations to have a perfect family. The reality is that all families experience ups and downs and different phases of family life. A new baby, a child moving to a new school, a relocation to a different area or even country, all of these factors and many more can lead to family tensions. It might be that you need to talk to someone who will listen to you impartially and help you to make sense of what is happening in your family, until things are more settled. It might be that a family situation has been unbearable for a long period of time and your family does not seem to be able to resolve it amongst themselves. In this case the family members affected, for example the parents and children may benefit from attending sessions together. Maybe there is a particular family member who is struggling for example a depressed parent or an adolescent who self-harms or does not wish to attend school. In this case either the individual or all the members affected might benefit from therapeutic support.
Treatment might include working with the whole family and/or working with a particular member. Even if a certain member who is deemed as contributing largely to the family dynamic does not want treatment, other family members can still benefit from treatment in order to help them cope better with the family situation.
Family therapy treatment for individuals depends on their issue. It might include a psychological assessment to gain more understanding of their behaviour. For example an adolescent who is struggling to adapt to secondary school and is frequently truanting might undergo a psychological assessment to discover possible underlying neurological or learning issues, which are causing his difficulty. A clinical psychologist might then recommend sessions with an educational psychologist for the young person and their parents to find strategies to regain confidence in learning and to return to school. Or it might include self-esteem counselling to help the young person communicate more assertively rather than aggressively and to have improved self-confidence.
Family therapy is an effective approach to dealing with family issues. This is a systemic approach which views the family as a system or unit. It aims to help members understand and gain greater awareness of how their family functions as a whole and the part they play in it. A systems approach seeks not to place the blame on a single individual but to see how all members may be contributing to a particular dynamic. For example if one person has a computer game problem, a family therapist might invite all the members to look at how they avoid communication and intimacy and how the family member’s computer game problem suits them at some level because it means they don’t have to engage fully with each other. The therapeutic aim in this case is to explore this behaviour and experiment with ways for family members to connect in more fulfilling ways.
At Psymplicity Healthcare we have skilful and qualified practitioners who specialise in treating family issues. Be it a psychologist, psychiatrist, CBT therapist, family psychotherapist or a combination, you can trust that we will take you seriously and are genuinely interested in helping you find the best solutions possible. So get in touch on 02027 118 0407 and a trained therapist will guide you towards the most helpful treatment for you and yours.