There is no doubt that when all members of the family are well and happy, it seems like nothing is going to be wrong. It is the joy of fathers when their relationships with their families are smooth, loving, and strong. However, families don’t experience this all the time. The anxiety and stress caused by the challenges of the modern world, including debts, illness, and mental health problems can take a toll on a family at any time.
Having issues with money, when children go into puberty or if they have disabilities, or behavioral problems do require some assistance to be resolved. A lot of families have an inherent resilience to different kinds of problems, but even the strongest families often feel that they can’t do it on their own and may need someone outside of the circle to help them smoothen the rough patches. And when it comes to counseling, deciding if when the right time is for the family to go into it is most definitely a big decision to make. Some families may think that giving in to therapy means that they have given up on the thought that they can do it, but the truth is, being open to family counseling can be essential in learning better ways to communicate and to work through the challenges and being able to connect and understand each other better.
When Is The Right Time
If your family is going through one or more of these warning signs, it might be the right time to think about going to a certified professional family counselor.
- The family members are showing intense emotional responses. Perhaps the eldest is expressing his annoyance through rage, or mom is exhibiting extreme anxiety, depression, or sadness.
- The family is having trouble living their daily activities in a normal and smooth fashion. You may feel that one or more members looked drained, irritated, or burdened over something that is sometimes relatively insignificant.
- There is a remarkable interruption in the way the family communicates with one another. Have you noticed that you are having more trouble making conversations with some family members? Are they giving you the silent treatment for some time now?
- Some or all of the family members seem to step away from family life. They each have probably noticed the change in the dynamics, they slowly withdraw from the circle, not going to get-togethers and most often going out with others instead of wanting to be with family.
- Behavioral changes are seen particularly the way kids act in school or at home. Their grades might be failing, or they may have attendance issues because the parents are unable to do their duties to their children. In severe cases, parents have difficulty controlling their own kids.
- Some family members are engaged in illicit drugs or too much alcohol. Others may also be diagnosed with eating disorders or a bad case of anxiety.
The Family Counselor
Finding the right family counselor may not be that easy and convenient. Here are some recommendations so you can begin your search for the right counselor that the family needs.
Consult your primary doctor. The doctor can usually provide a referral for his patient to a certified and professional family counselor. Through their years of education and clinical experience, family counselors, more or less, have an insight into which therapist or counselor might provide your family with the best care. So it is best to ask your doctor about it. He may know great counselors in your area.
Consider online recommendations. If you search the web, you will find lists of hundreds of therapists in your area and their specializations. Try looking into the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy for starters. They have an online locator service that allows you to find a counselor in your specific geographic area.
Personal recommendations also matter. Referrals from people who have tried going to counseling are among the best sources. Families who recommend their own counselors are something to consider, as they have experienced therapy with this counselor and have taken advantage of his care and services. In case someone does give you name, inquire more about him – his style of counseling, his personality, etc.
Ask questions. When you have found a counselor to interview for a possible working relationship with your family, it is only wise to ask these questions:
- Did you finish the specific course of family therapy or a related area of medicine?
- Where did you finish your degree?
- Were you under strict clinical supervision during your internship?
- How many years have you been practicing?
- What is your style of family counseling? There are various schools of thought in the context of family therapy, and as a concerned family member who wants what’s best for her family, you want to know how the counselor views the family and what kind of techniques does he use in his treatment?
Agreeing to consult a family counselor in managing your family problems is certainly a big move that needs careful consideration and discussion among family members. However, there have been many testimonials from families who have shared stories of how counseling has become a vital part in bridging the gaps and breaking down barriers in their family relationships. Why not give it a try? Going into counseling does not mean you accept failure – it only means that you believe the family requires a channel for reconciliation and healing.