Family Counseling at Aspen Therapy

Regardless of the origin of the problem, and regardless of whether the clients consider it an "individual" or "family" issue, involving families in solutions is always beneficial.

In family counseling, parents and children will have an opportunity to share their feelings, concerns and issues in a safe environment where the therapist can act as a moderator between family members. Parents may also benefit from an environment where their issues may be discussed in a therapeutic setting that ensures that each person gets enough time to express their concerns.  

Session Goals

One of the goals in family counseling is for the therapist to observe how family members interact with one another during the session, negative behaviors and communication styles are then pointed out by the therapist. The therapist will also assist the family in learning how to communicate in more positive and affective ways, which will replace the negative communication patterns. Overall, the main focus of family counseling is for each member to progress and for the family to become a harmonious unit once again.

Family counseling involves identifying and fighting against the enemies that invade and keeps family members from the closeness they seek. It is believed that each family member struggles to find a safe place within the family unit. Aggression in family members is reframed as a means of getting attention, and demanding a response. Withdrawing is reframed as an attempt to protect the relationship or the self rather than rejection or not caring. 

Skills and Outcomes

Identifying the negative cycle family members get into and how to avoid getting pulled into it, is the first part of family counseling. Helping each member of the family learn to express emotional needs and wants directly instead of through old patterns is facilitated. Family members learn to look for the softer primary emotions underlying the hostile negative responses that surface during disagreements. Skills of attunement, engagement, and responsiveness, are taught and practiced in therapy, and when applied at home, bonding events between family members occur which redefine the family as a safe haven and a secure base for all family members. At this point open communication happens naturally and flexible problem solving occurs.