Family counseling does not refer only to the Traditional idea of Mom, Dad and children. Family Counseling is about the system that is the family and can take many forms. It could be the Traditional family; A single Mom/Dad with children; a Gay couple with children; A Widow/Widower with children; Adoptive parent(s) with children; Extended family with children; Siblings with issues; etc. When I say children I am not only talking about people under the age of 18. There are often issues with adult children and between adult children.
It is typical for most people to see problems as residing within one person in the family. If this person gets in to see a therapist then everything will be fine. In the Cincinnati Region this, individual approach, is the dominant approach to therapy. There is a place for seeing individuals and there is a real need for families/people to see that a lot of our issues are inter-relational. Even if there is a child who is obviously doing things that are detrimental to his/her well-being, we need to look at the system. Maybe the only benefit will be that the system can work together to best respond to this individual’s behavior and reduce the harm/stress that comes from dealing with that person. Usually there will be even more benefit. The other individuals within the system will learn their part in maintaining or exacerbating the individual’s behavior. It gives a chance for the whole family to grow.
The issues that can be dealt with in family therapy are many. Whether it is illness, death, behavior issues, divorce, blending a family, moving home, extended family issues, mental health problems, caring for older family members, etc. The family/system can help deal with the stress and more understanding will result. Communication issues often help cause problems or reduce the ability of the system/family to cope. Although there may be a particular issue with one , this skilled therapist helps to bring the resources of the whole system into play. She/he will be a neutral party who helps illuminate the individuals understanding, increase positive communication and move towards resolution of the problems.