We here it all the time, but indeed, there is no such thing as the perfect family. Every family is unique with its own combination of strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes families get overwhelmed by what seems like an endless list of challenges when it comes to juggling work, school and individual family members’ needs. And sometimes families are blindsided by a huge upheaval such as a mental or physical illness, a job loss, or an addiction. Even “joyful” events such as a wedding, a job promotion, or a financial windfall can disrupt a family with unexpected consequences. Seeking a professional family problems therapist may help.
The more family problems there are, such as a depressed parent combined with a defiant teen-ager, the more challenging it will be to find the best combination of treatment solutions. Treatment would depend upon the nature of the problems and the willingness and ability of family members to participate. Sometimes couple therapy may be in order or it may be that family group therapy combined with individual therapy is required.
Types of Family Problems Commonly Treated by MFTs
Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety or phobias
Intolerance of differences
Inability to manage or resolve conflicts
Over-dependency or extreme autonomy
Financial difficulties or excesses
Chronic crises or unexpected upheavals
Inadequate problem solving skills
Favoring or disfavoring family members
Unwanted separation due to job or personal demands
What You Can Do Right Now
Face reality. Be fearless and compile a list of what must be accepted and what must be changed both internally (within yourself) and externally (situation specific). This is your starting point for prioritizing challenges and identifying the resources you’ll need to resolve them. It will also help you identify what is and is not within your control.
Take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Find and ask for help. Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help but remember that therapists are trained to provide valuable perspective while assessing, diagnosing and treating family members of all ages.
Be open to change.
Dr. Richard Wallace, Phd.