What is Family Therapy and who is it for?

Young family with small children in summer nature at sunset.

We are all born into an ongoing family story. Our early experiences shape who we are. They also shape our adult relationships, and how we parent.

Families can be a source of immense joy … and great frustration. Family therapy can help you move through some of those relationship challenges.

Who is Family Therapy For? 

Family therapy is relevant for all ages and stages in life, and offers support for the whole family. Some areas we can help with include:

  • Parenting – children’s challenging behaviours, ADHD, dyslexia and other learning difficulties
  • Caring for elderly parents
  • In-laws – becoming an in-law, living with in-laws, family conflict
  • Life Transitions – becoming parents, children starting school, living with teenagers, children leaving home, becoming grandparents
  • Siblings – ongoing conflict, past hurts

All of these life experiences can affect your relationships, and can be difficult to work through on your own. There’s no harm in asking for help, and addressing niggling issues early on can help to prevent major family breakdowns.

The Family as a System 

We can view the family unit as a system, a set of interconnected and interrelated parts. Anything that affects one part will have an impact on all other parts of the system. Everyone has a role to play in improving healthy interactions.

People often come to family therapy to address challenging behaviours in their children. However, our children don’t exist in a vacuum. Many of the behavioural issues they present can be addressed by looking at the bigger family story that they have been born into. Our children’s behaviours can be a  sign of underlying family dynamics. 

Exploring the child’s behaviour as part of a family system can bring a meaningful message for the whole family. The result is growth in awareness and closer relationships for the family as a whole.

Benefits of Family Therapy Include:

  • Closer family connections
  • Healing strained relationships
  • Addressing children’s challenging behaviours and learning difficulties
  • Learning how safely manage conflict
  • Improved family emotional balance
  • Improved communication, removal of blockages to closer connection
  • Greater understanding and awareness

Generational Family Stories

The relationship patterns we experience in infancy and early childhood come with us throughout life, and we take them into our adult relationships. As a result, we often find ourselves unconsciously repeating old family patterns of behaviour.

These patterns of relationship can pass through generations. So too can learning and behavioural difficulties like dyslexia and ADHD. Family therapy can help to address the causes, or underlying “roots” within your family system.

Healing Family Relationships

Therapy often involves healing your own inner wounding, and understanding how the past can be showing up in your family relationships today. The good news is that any healing you achieve through personal therapy can have a positive impact on all other family members.

Healing family relationships starts with just one person willing to take the steps to break the family cycle.

Benefits for Children

Secure family relationships are the key to a child’s later wellbeing offering a sense of belonging, helping children find their place in the world. If you are struggling in your adult relationships, Couples Counselling can help to address any areas of tension, and help you to be on the same page with parenting strategies.

Children are like little sponges, and will unconsciously copy our behaviours. They’re watching how we handle conflict, how we relate to them, and to each other as a couple. This forms the basis of their friendships both as children, and later in intimate adult relationships. 

We can also change their behaviours by consciously role modelling the behaviours we would like them to learn. Family therapy can help change those unconscious patterns of behaviour that we bring to our adult life.

Your First Session

In your first session we will get to know each other, and explore your goals in therapy. I may ask you to describe what your ideal family  looks like, and where you are now in relation to this. We can also explore how your family’s ancestral past might be affecting what is disturbing you now.

If you are looking for support with parenting, I often suggest Circle of Security Parenting classes. This 8-week program is designed to help you change behaviours by learning what those meltdowns and tantrums might really mean, and how to deal with them.

Ready for Change?

If you’re ready to change disruptive family patterns, and create a new family story based on connection and understanding, call Rosalind today to make an appointment. Consultations are available either in person at Moruya South Head or online.

You don’t need a referral or diagnosis to seek help.

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About Rosalind

Since 2005 I have been helping children with learning and behavioural challenges such as autism, dyslexia, ADHD and other sensory processing difficulties. I use an holistic, or whole child approach combining counselling with a development movement program, known as The Extra Lesson. This program addresses underlying immaturities in early development that are contributing to their learning and behavioural challenges. Sessions are available online and in person at Moruya South Head.

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