Throughout the years, mental health has become less and less of a taboo in our society. We are slowly accepting and understanding the truth about mental illness and what we can do to help the people who are affected by this. With what is happening in the world today – the pandemic, being in quarantine, economic decline, and losing physical interaction – it is understandable for many of us to be in mental or emotional distress. So, we need to educate ourselves on the many facts of mental health.
Educating ourselves may save the lives of the people we love and care for because sometimes we may never really know what someone is going through until we start to look into their behaviors or the changes in how they interact.
If ever your family is going through a difficult time right now and you may think that you need help, there is a thing called family therapy. This is a therapy session or counseling with a therapist or a group of therapists who are trained in family and group therapy techniques. This type of therapy is based on the family systems theory, which states that the family is viewed as a living organism rather than just a sum of individual members.
So, what this means is the therapist or therapists will consider your family as a whole rather than individuals. What they will be studying is how you interact with each other and how you communicate with one another. This also means that the family issues you are facing will be treated by changing how the system works rather than trying to fix a specific member of the family.
However, despite the family being treated as one, there is one who they call as the identified patient. This is the member of the family who has shown symptoms that have brought the family into treatment or counseling. Therapists during family therapy usually make sure that the rest of the family does not use the identified patient as a scapegoat or to use them as a way to avoid the problem they are facing.
What the therapist can do to avoid scapegoating or avoiding issues is for them to introduce the concept of homeostasis or balance. In doing this, the therapist is explaining why a certain symptom has appeared during this time. So as an example, we have a child who suddenly becomes temperamental or withdrawn. This may be because the parents are constantly fighting or are going through a divorce. We have to remember that the child is always affected when there is a problem between the parents, which is why parents need to learn how to communicate with one another and their child.
As a precaution for family therapy, some members of the family may be asked to undergo individual therapy to avoid volatile interactions between family members. Due to the possibility of hostility or violence, some families are not suitable for family therapy. These families may include families who have one or both parents diagnosed with psychotic, paranoid, or antisocial personality, families with members who cannot join sessions due to physical illness, families with rigid personality structures, and families whose culture or religion are opposed.
So as an additional risk, family therapy may unsettle rigid personality defense in individuals or relationships that had previously been fragile. This process may be extremely difficult for the children as it is stressful and confusing to them. It is advised to have the children undergo individual counseling with the same therapist if possible as to help the child understand what is happening a lot more and for the child to be able to express what they are feeling fully.
All in all, a family needs to undergo counseling or therapy if needed. This is the best way to help the family sort out their issues and their unexpressed emotions. This way, the children do not grow up hating one of their parents, each other, or even themselves.
Having your children undergo therapy and counseling as early as possible can help their development. This helps avoid any future harm that the child may put themselves through, and it also becomes an avenue for them to express themselves a lot better.
I believe that there is no shame in having your children or your family get help for mental issues. Your mind can be your biggest enemy, and if you do not seek help, you might lose to it. The good news is that there is help wherever and whenever you need it. So, if you or someone you know needs help, we have suicide hotlines ready to help you, or if you need someone to talk to, talking to your friends or family will never be a bother. Reach out. You are never alone.