Sunday, December 4, 2022

5 ways family therapy can help overcome mental health illnesses

When it comes to a support system, nothing gets better than a healthy, loving, supportive family. If you’re lucky enough to have a good relationship with your family members, you’ll know how relieving it can be to know there’s someone who always has your back.

Our family members know more deeply than anyone and often understand what we may be going through without saying much. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a supportive, thriving relationship with their family.

Families can often become very closely enmeshed, and several issues may surface. Having a strained relationship with your family can devastate your mental health, and often, therapy is the only recourse.

If you want to learn more about how family therapy can help with mental well-being, keep reading below.

1. Therapy can facilitate honest, healthy communication

One of the biggest reasons we may encounter domestic issues is that we can’t get through to each other. Communication barriers can occur in families for several reasons and foster a lot of hate and stress when left unchecked. 

A lack of communication means you are unable to present your side and may be unwilling to listen to what your family members have to say. 

Outside a therapeutic setting, there may be too many barriers to listening. There can be a lot of subjectivity, and without a neutral moderator to guide the process, communication attempts can be quickly derailed. Instead, working with a family therapist can help every family member get their voice heard without aggression. 

Working with a registered therapist can help every family member express their concerns without fearing retaliation. 

All communication is conducted to ensure active listening and reduce hatred. Specialized COAMFTE accredited programs can teach therapists how to handle unique familial issues and help clients develop healthier communication methods. 

2. Can help you set healthy boundaries

The other important reason families can experience conflict is a lack of healthy boundaries. As a family, you may be incredibly close to one another. However, even that closeness needs to have some boundaries.

In the absence of such boundaries, you might end up being too closely involved in each other’s lives. Relationships without boundaries can quickly start to feel overbearing, and establishing boundaries without therapy can feel like a jarring change. 

Boundary issues can commonly lead to problems such as anxiety disorders and can make clients feel like they can’t speak up for themselves. Family therapists can help break these overly-close bonds and instead help all family members assert their individuality.

Families can be much happier with healthier boundaries for children, parents, partners, and other family members, and no one will feel limited or restrained. 

3. Tackles the causes of mental illnesses

Although our family members are often well-intentioned, they may fail to help us handle our mental health issues. This is not only because they aren’t trained enough to tackle the causes but also because they can sometimes be active contributors to the issue. The difficulties we experience at home can be too hard to discuss with our family members, let alone to tell them they may be a contributing factor. Find new york aa meeting for you or a family member to recover from drug addiction and alcoholism.

A family therapist can objectively examine the situation surrounding our mental distress and identify all the contributing factors. At times, clients may not realize that their family situation is a cause of their distress. However, a therapist can easily connect the dots and can help clients handle their mental health issues better.

Moreover, family therapy goes a step further and helps communicate to all family members these causes and how they can help us overcome them. With time, family therapy can help create a healthier home environment which helps prevent mental health issues.

4. Create empathy

You’ll be surprised at how effective empathy can reduce mental distress and create a healthier environment in any sphere. Empathy is one of the key tools therapists use in individual therapy to connect with their clients and understand their position. 

In family therapy, one of the biggest goals is to extend this understanding to all family members and help them empathize with one another. 

Simply put, empathy is the ability to understand and look at a situation from another’s perspective. It allows you to put yourselves in the other person’s shoes, even if you don’t personally agree with their viewpoint. Empathy can often be hard to find in families where conflicts can quickly become deeply entrenched. 

You might have family members stubbornly refusing to rethink the way they see the situation, even if it hurts others. However, a family therapist can slowly help family members cultivate empathy and understand where others are coming from. 

Greater empathy in any relationship can help reduce mental conflict and keep any mental illnesses at bay. 

5. Handle unique family issues

Although the nuclear family was inarguably the most common family model, things have changed immensely in today’s age, making families much more diverse. However, although diversity is welcome, it often brings unique challenges and changes that many family members may not be ready to adapt to.

Families with people of different races or social status may have a hard time integrating, and therapy can be crucial in making everyone feel heard.

Additionally, family therapy can be crucial when dealing with blended families. Blended families are rapidly increasing and occur when one person with children marries another person with children or where one of the partners is already a parent.

Adjusting to a new family unit can be hard for the children and parents alike, and there can be a lot of conflict between step-parents or siblings. Family therapy can help navigate these tricky zones and create a healthy, loving environment.

Conclusion

At its best, our family can be a source of constant comfort and respite and can help us fight away any mental distress. However, without actively caring for these relationships, we might end up with a toxic family environment, which can be incredibly damaging. A family therapist can help us navigate all the messiness that families come with and can help us create healthy bonds that bring mental peace.