Family counseling is available in our Lexington, KY, Richmond, KY, and Frankfort, KY offices. In addition to providing other types of counseling, including individual therapy and counseling, child counseling, psychiatric services, and more, our staff offers family counseling for many issues. Confidentiality and privacy are very important to our practice, and we maintain an environment in which you are safe and comfortable to explore your family issues. See the Counseling Process section of our website for further information on how you can start your journey.
Often, our families involve a child who might be in need of counseling, and family counseling is a great opportunity to really delve into the problem. Also, family counseling is appropriate for situations in which substance abuse or marriage issues or a pending divorce might be present.
We have multiple locations to help easily accommodate you, and our well-trained staff can assist you with your particular needs.
Following, please find some helpful explanations and resources for family counseling in order to decide if this might be right for you or your family. Family counseling in Lexington KY can be a little tricky. There are many providers with multiple credentials. If you need to understand professionals that help better, please visit here.
As described at GoodTherapy.org, all families face difficult situations and issues arise in every dynamic; sometimes families are faced with situations that are more than they can undertake on their own. Family counseling can assist with family issues relating to substance abuse, communication, dangerous behaviors like violence or abuse, and more. Partaking in family counseling sessions can help the family and individuals involved analyze, uncover, and address concerns they might have about moving forward.
Finding a good counselor to provide family counseling can alleviate some of the problems that might be interfering with communication among family members. Family issues can become debilitating. They can sometimes interfere with the individuals’ well-being. Seeking counseling can help a struggling family overcome these issues and develop a successful plan to reestablish their family unit.
Also, to help understand, the family unit can be thought of in terms of a business. In order to have a functioning business, as a whole, each department must be functioning individually and together, in order to produce the effective whole. If one department is failing, the entire business will suffer, and if the entire business is not cohesive, the individual departments will face trouble (Psychcentral).
From WebMD: Family therapy is drawn from the idea that the family is a “unique social system with its own structure and patterns of communication.” There are a multitude of factors that go into the family dynamic, and each family faces different challenges, communicates differently (or not at all), and will need different resolutions or assistance to help overcome challenges they may face.
Family therapy can be used to address issues such as illness of a family member, changes in the family structure, or changes in individual family members. Specifically, each individual in the family affects the overall dynamic of the family, and the dynamic of the family influences each individual member differently. For example, facing a situation in which one family member is ill requires special attention because it is important to not only treat the ill individual, but also address the issues that affect the whole family unit. Only treating the ill individual will simply cause a cycle of illness throughout the family.
Seeking assistance from a family counselor can help the family understand how families function as a whole and how each individual functions within the family, help the family focus on the whole family as one unit, rather than individual issues or illnesses, in order to move together as one toward healing and wellness, helps to recognize conflicts to strategize solutions and help the family overcome obstacles, and teaches how to handle changes and stressors as a family, rather than individually.
Family counseling usually occurs with all family members in the session. However, this may vary depending on the individual situations or issues. For example, if you have a family member who suffers from drug addiction, or is potentially violent, it is best to provide individual and family therapy, perhaps including the individual in some family sessions but not all.
A family counselor will help the family reflect on their situation to improve communication between family members. Replacing negative patterns of communication is key in moving forward as a family, and family members can learn how to work through further issues together.
What is family counseling? (from WiseGeek)
According to GoodTherapy.com, there are many issues that may be addressed in family counseling situations.
These include, but are not limited to:
• Substance abuse
• Mental health issues
• Divorce or blended families
• Illness or death
• Financial stressors
• Behavioral or school issues among children
• Adult sibling conflict
• Teen pregnancy
• Drug use among children/teens
• Sexual abuse
• Violence or PTSD from traumatic event
From the Mayo Clinic, other issues appropriate for family counseling include:
• Coping with household member in substance abuse treatment or jail
• Family or marital stress
• Disconnect among members
For further information on each of these, please seek clarification at this great resource from the Mayo Clinic, which details many mental illnesses, disorders, and other clinical terms that might be important for understanding your ill family member: In-Depth Family Therapy.
In order to prepare for family counseling sessions, you should find a psychologist or licensed therapist that you are comfortable with, and embrace the idea of delving into the family’s problems in order to resolve them.
Some important criteria for selecting an appropriate counselor include:
• Experience – What is their background? Are they licensed? How long have they been practicing?
• Education – What are their educational qualifications? Are they accredited?
• Location – Where is their office?
• Hours/availability – When are they open? Are they available on-call or in emergencies?
• Session Details – How long are the sessions? How many sessions will take place?
• Payment and Insurance – Do they take my insurance? How much is charged for each session? Are there payment plans available? Sliding scale?
Ultimately, you want to find a therapist that you are comfortable with, and this will lead to the greatest development in your family unit.
Specifically relative to families facing a child with a potential mental illness, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) details concerning behaviors or patterns of children, including sudden drop in school grades, aggression or violence, self-harm or threats or suicide, mood swings, paranoia, withdrawn symptoms or depression-like symptoms, changes in sleep, changes in eating habits, use of alcohol or drugs, difficulty with friends, no desire to socialize, and more. These are vital signs that you child may be facing a mental illness, and need to be addressed immediately. Family counseling can help, call us today! 859-338-0466
Seek assistance first from your child’s pediatrician, and ask for a referral to a mental health specialist or counselor. Your child may be facing an anxiety disorder, mood disorder, substance abuse or addiction, ADD/ADHD, eating disorders, autism, or psychotic illness.
Your child may require individual therapy and family therapy. Support groups are also important to the development and adjustment to the mental illness diagnosis. Family counseling will provide the opportunity to understand the child’s illness as well as gain perspective and communication techniques to communicate effectively as a family unit.
Children and teenagers often face difficulty responding to change, and coping with changing circumstances. Changes in behavior, especially sudden changes, including a straight-A student who is suddenly failing tests, or aggression toward parents or siblings, are red flags to seek treatment. (APA)
Why should I seek counseling?
Counsellingresource.com organizes a comprehensive description of why counseling works. In a variety of situations, including psychological distresses, including both short term and long term counseling patterns, counseling is effective.
From APA (American Psychological Association), families may consider family counseling if they feel an overwhelming sense of helplessness, are unable to solve problems cohesively, find it difficult to function as a family unit, or have destructive behaviors individually, like substance abuse or violence, or have mental illness present.
Based on research from the Stanford University School of Medicine, there is convincing evidence that those involved ongoing in therapy sessions are more stable than those with issues that go untreated. Over 75 percent of individuals that underwent therapy for six months noted a significant improvement in their situation.
No family is the same. Each family has their own dynamic, issues, and way of dealing with their issues. Also, each individual is different from the family unit. Finding a common ground or way of understanding the others’ perspectives is important for finding resolutions. Each therapy session is different. There are many techniques for advising families, including some of the video resources below.
Video: Family Role Play Situation: Includes techniques for revisiting and reenacting family situations in the therapist’s office in order to provide the therapist insight in the communication methods and the individual problems of each individual, including automatic responses and dynamics between family members.
Video: Family Card Game: Explores an abnormal but effective approach to breaking down the communication discordance between family members.
Sessions will be tailored to fit your family situation and family dynamic. The family counselor will work specifically with your dynamic to develop and decide how to proceed with your issue. Different techniques and practices will be applied when appropriate in order to best address your situation.
Similar to the Family Role Play Situation video above, Family Systems Therapy includes multiple approaches, such as structural family therapy, strategic family therapy, and intergenerational family therapy. These may include breaking down the intergenerational dynamic and assumptions, and recognizing roots that date beyond the assumption in place. Addressing this is important for normalizing the situation or problem. Also, in strategic family therapy, the family is urged and assisted in redefining the problem in order to better understand the situation and possible avenues of resolution.
Depending on the age of the family members, Art and Play-based activities may be used. This technique includes “talk therapy” but delves deeper, engaging little ones into the therapy session by directly and physically bringing to light their emotions, and providing or creating creative outlets for expressing emotions and problems.
Art and play therapy provide a relaxed environment that is not provided in a traditional “talk therapy” session. Allowing an artistic or playful outlet for young children allows the therapist time to really observe the child and their issues or responses to the issues of their family members, without restricting the session to a stuffy office in which a child might be less likely to cooperate or engage.
Other basic techniques exist, including techniques that are generalized across all forms of therapy, and those specific to family counseling.
Some of these are included in this extensive list from Utexas:
• Accommodation: adjustments made to the family
• Boundary marking: discussion of boundaries and “off-topic” ideals
• Creating a workable reality: the concept of addressing important issues, ignoring others, and focusing of the healing of the family; also includes prioritizing tasks and strategies at home
• Enactment: reenacting home situations or problems with dialogue, allowing the therapist to see automatic responses and the dynamic of the communication between family members
• Intensity: regulation of the thorough context of the therapy sessions, including varying the intensity to explore deeper issues both individually and in the family dynamic
• Intervening isomorphically: focusing on events that are dissimilar, in order to compare and contrast
• Joining: an accommodation in which the therapist becomes metaphorically part of the family in order to be accepted and to break down barriers between the family and the therapist
• Maintenance: supporting the family structure by encouraging speech patterns like “tell me more about…”
• Mimesis: creating parallel of the family’s mood, including making animated hand movements, mimicking the family’s persona, in order to form parallels and break down therapist/family barriers or assumptions
• Restructuring: assigning tasks or marking boundaries in order to focus on more at-hand tasks or issues
• Unbalancing: a session or intervention supporting one individual more than the other members of the family in order to break down the bolstering of the current family situation
Start your treatment sooner rather than later. Sometimes, letting problems and family discordance fester and worsen will lead to significant, detrimental consequences. Do not ignore your family problems.Family counseling does work, can be fun, and is very rewarding.
Set up an appointment today!
While you await your appointment, please take time to reflect on the issues in your family unit that really need addressed. Try journaling, and asking other members of your family to do the same, so that everyone is prepared for the session and ready to talk, learn, and change.
Seek assistance from this video, which explains how to begin journaling and what ideas to focus on when journaling for therapy purposes.
Working with families is recommended in several instances including when children or adolescents are presented with a primary issue. Also, when family conflict, divorce or substance abuse is present.
Family counseling in Lexington, Frankfort, and Richmond KY is available for you and your family. Please contact us today! You can call us at 859 338-0466 for all appointments and questions!