Are members of your family fighting or not speaking to each other?
Does it feel that the roles of family members are fixed in a rigid way that don’t serve the entire system?
Do you dread seeing members of your family or attending large family gatherings?
Are there different groups in your family who are aligned against each other?
There is nothing like the support and love one gets from parents, siblings and extended family members. When communication is healthy and everyone feels understood there is a feeling of happiness and ease at family gatherings. Unfortunately it is far too easy for a misunderstanding or miscommunication to blow up into an issue that can pull families apart. It is very painful for everyone when families experience hostility among some or all of their members.
All families have disagreements though some are more disruptive than others.
I have yet to know anyone who has not had conflict within his or her family. Family Counseling is for those families that are struggling with deep disconnections. If your family members don’t trust each other or don’t speak honestly or with respect, the impact is felt like ripples throughout the entire family. If one or several family members are in pain everyone feels it. This unhappiness can eat away at the core of the family and you may find yourself feeling tension and discomfort when all or part of the family comes together.
Sometimes there may be hurts or traumas that run through the dynamics in a family for decades or even generations. Too often these difficult issues are hidden and family members carry a great deal of shame or anger that ultimately impacts their ability to get along with the others. A sense of safety needs to be created before anyone will feel that they want to talk about these deep wounds. That is where Family Therapy can help.
How can I help your family heal the wounds that have grown between people?
Using Emotionally Focused Family Therapy I can help you learn how to manage the conflicts that feel like they are tearing your family apart. Emotionally Focused Family Therapy begins focusing first on where the immediate pain is in the family and the underlying patterns that have formed from this pain. I will help the person who is hurt, angry, feeling alienated or misunderstood to be heard by those that they feel have hurt them. You will begin to understand why people respond to each other the way that they do. I will create an environment that will support everyone in the family to understand their own triggers, perceptions and behaviors as well as to begin to develop tolerance and understanding of the feelings and triggers of the other members. Together we will slow things down so that you can each develop curiosity about the other family members and learn how to ask for your needs to be met in healthy ways.
Whether you are a parent, child, sibling, or part of a blended family there is hope that the negative patterns that have developed over time can be changed. By developing an understanding of the interaction cycles that keep your family stuck in a state of distress I will help you to develop skills to communicate clearly with the others. Everyone will learn to understand the significant emotions that drive the dynamics of the family as well as learn to restructure the interactions between parent and child/children, siblings, and extended family members.
I will be sure that each member of the family feels respected and able to speak their truth. Sessions will not be used to find blame or attribute the upsets to one person in particular. Together we will establish firm guidelines of behavior both in and outside of the session so that no one feels that they are being attacked or invalidated. Relationships that have been damaged can be healed and the dynamics within the system can be re-created so that all members feel happy and valued.
What if all of my family members refuse to attend therapy? Can you still help?
While it is ideal for all members of the family to be present sometimes people will refuse to come. There is still much goodness that comes for the people that attend sessions to learn to relate in more positive and healthy ways. Those in attendance will come to understand how to get in touch with their emotions and express them in useful ways that will begin to soften the exchanges within the family. When that happens the people who refused to attend the sessions may come to trust that Family Counseling sessions are not meant to blame and put people on the defensive but to help each member to connect with the others in ways that support a healthy and happy family system.
Family Counseling Can Change the Dynamics of Your Family!
I am quite drawn to Family Therapy because of the powerful restructuring that I have witnessed with families that I have worked with. Family members learn about the often hidden dynamics within the family and discover the patterns of behavior and perceptions that have caught the family in an unhappy cycle. With help, families are able to develop effective patterns of communication that allow them to truly show each other the love and respect that they feel.
Call me at 650 289-9972 or email me at Catherine@catherine-morris.com for a brief consultation to learn about how I can help your family to create the relationships that will help each of you to enjoy your lives together now and in the years to come!