Each family is a unique system with its own style and level of functioning. Individuals grow and learn within this system. They develop values and beliefs that determine how they view the world. They learn how to settle disputes, ask for help, celebrate successes and overcome difficulties.
When problems arise, often the best course of treatment is to work with multiple family members. This gives the counselor a better understanding of the dynamics and allows individual members to work together to solve the family's problems. Rather than assigning blame, family counseling focuses on how the family functions as a whole to help individuals take responsibility for their personal role in the problem. Drawing on family strengths and preferences helps the family to see that they have the ability to heal and grow through many of life's difficult challenges.
The number of sessions required varies, depending on the severity of the problems and the willingness of the members to participate in counseling. The family and the counselor set mutual goals and discuss the length of time expected to achieve the goals. Not all members of the family attend each session.
When an addiction is involved, the best treatment includes working with more than one member of the family. Often parents, spouses and children enable the addiction to thrive as they attempt to help their loved one. Learning how to focus on self-care, setting boundaries and keeping communication open can make all the difference in overcoming an addiction. Working with a professional counselor can reduce anxiety and create an environment where recovery can thrive.