The family is a system of interconnected individuals - none of whom can be understood in isolation, and all of whom take parts of their experience and role in their family to develop their sense of identity. The models of relating we observed in our first family can have a powerful effect on how we view ourselves, others, and the world.
Family Therapy can help when family members are overwhelmed by either the predictable events in the life cycle, or unpredictable events such as sudden illness, loss, trauma, death, redundancy or disability, etc.
Stress in families can manifest in one individual experiencing issues that spill over and affect other individuals within the family. Consider the image of a nursery mobile, where when one piece of the mobile is moved, all the other pieces move too. In a sense, each piece exists in connection to another, and so movement in any one part of the mobile will affect all other parts of the mobile. A family system exists in a similar way whereby each family member is impacted by the physical health, thoughts, feelings and behaviour of every other family member.
Impact of Marital Distress, Separation and Divorce on Families
Marital distress, separation or divorce can have an impact on the entire family unit, and often result in children acting out their pain through problematic behaviours. At best, marital distress can teach children the reality of relationship conflict and how to problem solve it. At worst, marital distress can thrust children into the realms of a "loyalty bind", where they feel they don’t have "true permission" to express love for one parent, in fear of upsetting the other parent. As a result, they might develop symptoms of trauma, depression or anxiety. Working through marital conflict can have positive effects on all family members, especially children.
Everyday People Psychology & Family Therapy works with the entire family system whilst ensuring that each individual's viewpoint is heard. This way, each member can participate in improving communication and restoring healthy family relationships.
Co-parenting and Re-partnering
In the aftermath of separation or divorce, parents are often challenged to create a new parenting relationship. Although the couple relationship did not work, parenting continues to be a shared responsibility. Developing an effective co-parenting strategy minimizes the impact of separation or divorce on children.
Family therapy may be helpful if you and your family are experiencing any of the following:
- Parenting issues
- Couple and marital difficulties
- Issues relating to divorce or separation
- Single parenting, step-parenting and blended families
- Issues arising out of illness and disability
- Problems relating to alcohol and other substance abuse
- Violence, sexual or emotional abuse in the family