Family Counseling

What is family counseling? It is a type of counseling that includes the entire family because problems affecting individual family members usually impact the family as a whole. Often families just need support as children grow and change, but sometimes they must deal with such issues as academic or discipline problems, divorce, substance abuse, sadness, anger, or racial discrimination.

We recognize that families come in all forms, and no two families look alike. Some may have two parents, others only one; many grandparents and extended family members are raising other family members’ children. Family counseling helps all kinds of families to build on their strengths and to locate solutions to their problems.

“Family therapy,” or “family systems therapy,” works with families to nurture change and development. As developed by Murray Bowen, it sees the family as more than a collection of individuals, but as a system with rules and roles for each member. It emphasizes family relationships as central to good psychological health.

Our Family Counselors will focus on patterns of how you interact with each other instead of trying to find the “causes” of problems. That way the family therapist can avoid unfortunate “blaming” that can put individuals on the defensive and block growth.

The difference between individual and family counseling is that the “client” is the family — not the individuals in the family. A family therapist doesn’t focus on one member as the “problem” and try to fix her or him. Theissues that families face are always a product of the “system” they create together. In fact, the medical model — in which one person is the “identified patient” who needs to be fixed — breaks down completely in couples and family work. All psychological problems, and all psychological changes, involve both individual symptoms (behavior, emotions, conflicts, thought processes) and changes in interpersonal relationships.

Family counseling can take a variety of forms. Sometimes it is best to see an entire family for a few sessions. Other times, it may be better to see children and their parents separately. Whatever the format, the goal of family counseling is to identify the dynamics that cause problems and to institute changes in the structure or style of how the family operates. A small change in one area can often have tremendous impact on other areas which means that significant gains can often be produced quickly and dramatically.

If you are wanting to meet with Stephen Anthony for family counseling, there are two ways to setup an appointment with him: 1) Fill out the Contact Form and he will call you with 24-hours; 2) Call our offices at (970) 640-2428.

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