Family therapy brings parents, siblings and extended family members such as aunts, uncles and grandparents into the treatment process. The family system has its own structure and patterns of communication, which may be defined by parenting style, personalities and other influences.
Every individual is, in part, a product of the environment they grew up in. Family plays an important role in our emotional, physical and spiritual development since each individual in the family system impacts and is impacted by the others. For example, one person’s illness can change the lives and interactions of all the other family members.
Ideally, our families are those whom we can always rely on for support, from whom we draw strength and feedback, for whom we feel love and concern, and with whom we feel close and comfortable, openly sharing thoughts and feelings. In reality, few families meet this expectation 100% of the time, and in some cases, a person’s family is far from ideal, associated instead with stress, misunderstanding, anger, disconnection, and unmet needs. From our family of origin, we develop our expectations of others, communication skills, outlook on life, ability to give and receive love, and coping skills, among myriad other traits, and chronic family problems can have lasting effects.
Family problems from mild to severe will challenge every family at some point. These can result from behavioral and mental health issues in the family or from specific stressful events. Common family problems include:
Whatever the source, distressing family dynamics can greatly interfere with the functioning of every family member, including extended family, although those living in the same household are likely to be impacted more significantly than those who live apart. When family members do not get along, the tension can impact each family member’s mental and physical health, relationships, and even his or her capacity for routine tasks. Evidence of family problems can materialize through repeated family conflicts, dramatic behavioral shifts in children and adolescents, mood swings and depression.
Fortunately, resolving family issues require the cooperation of everyone in the family, and this provides a great opportunity to strengthen family ties and interactions.
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