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Family Counselling

A clear path to serenity and happiness

Unlock Harmony at Home: Comprehensive Guide to Family Counselling

Understanding the Importance of Relationships

For most of us the most important part of our life is our relationships with others. Often too little attention is paid to emotional needs, both our own, and others. Most of us try very hard to please, but usually we are adopting/copying the relationship habits of parents/ siblings/teachers/peers. This can lead to us trying to please others whilst not pleasing ourselves.

Identifying and Expressing Personal and Mutual Needs

So – the first step now you are an adult, is to pause and consider “what do I need?” This doesn’t mean you will be able to have your own way, but it does mean you can acknowledge and express your needs. Equally this means you will ensure you acknowledge, understand and listen to others needs.

Navigating Differences and Building Tolerance in Relationships

The second step is since you have heard, understood the needs of this close to you, and that has been reciprocated, you can then work together, resulting in a more harmonious life, thus moving to the third step. When we begin a relationship with a partner it is important to consider the similarities and differences in our upbringing. Although there may be similarities, no two families operate in the exact same way. Some people struggle with differences, even minute ones, becoming critical, even controlling about the other’s behavior/habits, which will eat away at any relationship. So you can see that tolerance and understanding are important for a relationship to flourish.

The Journey of Parenthood: Welcoming New Responsibilities

Becoming parents, not surprisingly, is an enormous, life changing experience – pregnancy is one thing, the baby an unknown quantity, whilst the birth carries us into new territory, now we are responsible for this tiny, utterly dependent, human being. This much loved and longed for little person relies on its parents for everything, and parents can feel both excited and terrified by this new responsibility.

The Importance of Fostering Independence in Children

The slightest problem, real or (often) imagined, has parents feeling a failure, believing they should be able to bring down the moon, sun and stars for their precious offspring. Too often parents, or a parent, spend a great deal of time, pleasing, placating and, unwittingly, disabling their child by doing everything for them. As a parent is is imperative that we teach them, obviously in an age appropriate manner, to be independent. It starts with helping them learn how to feed themselves, potty training, learning how to dress themselves, and so on.

Keeping Communication Alive in the Digital Age

It’s important to have time to talk to one another, do things together, with our children. In these days of social media, tv and electronic devices too many families are together, but separate, absorbed in their various screens. Try to have meals together, time to share food, ideas and plans, hopes and dreams, all of which helps us to be closer, united.

Teaching Life Skills as Children Grow

As children grow, so the family dynamic adjusts and reasserts itself. We need to teach our children to cross the road safely, to ride a bike, swim, encouraging them to do their homework, whilst knowing they can ask for help should they need it. As they continue to grow we need to teach them how to make a cup of tea, boil an egg, basic cookery skills.

Navigating the Challenges of Puberty and Teenage Years

At puberty it is important we talk to them about their body changing, how to care for their physical health. It’s a good idea to know who their friends are as they venture out into the world without you by their side, that you discuss social matters, perceived risks around drinking etc. Boundary setting is particularly important in teenage years. Teenagers will rebel against boundaries, but ultimately feel safer and more secure knowing they are in place. It is also normal and healthy for teenagers to rebel, to push the boundaries, even though parents will sometimes feel exasperated, it’s all part of growing up.

In later teens we need to be preparing our child for living alone, for leaving the nest. Now it’s important your child is aware of how to manage money, pay bills, manage their own bank account, know how to apply for insurance, for personal effects. Can manage a sensible and affordable budget for food shopping, ensuring they know how to prepare healthy meals. The more prepared they are for independence, the more confident they are on starting out on their own.

Respecting Boundaries Once Children Leave Home

Once they have flown the nest it’s important that parents don’t keep stepping in to check on their offspring’s every move, or criticising/suggesting they (the parent) know better, that just undermines confidence, and blurs the boundaries.

When our child is standing on their own two feet, managing life pretty well, then we have done our job as a parent. You can be there in the background, ready to offer a helping hand if asked, but remember not to interfere. Any interference is likely to cause problems, resentment and arguments as the child will push back against what they see as your treating them like a having any sense of child. Teach your child the value of money, to have a part time job and earn pocket money so they learn to value their earnings and things they buy. Encourage them to save for bigger purchases, like a car, house, rather than just hand it to them without the child having a sense of achievement.

Celebrating Your Success as a Parent

This separation which is a normal and natural part of life, can feel painful for a parent, we can experience it as a loss, but the reality is that you have done your job, your child is now grown and you are setting them free to be who they are – so well done!

In my role as a therapist I have seen people whose parents have disabled them, interfered and controlled their child’s life to such an extent that the adult child feels completely disempowered. I remember one woman whose mother had a key to her house, would let herself in and organise the grandchildren, sort the washing, even observe the grandchildren crossing the road to go to school. Only problem was she watched from an upstairs window, not from the curbside. The daughter became very depressed, started drinking. Therapy enabled her to take back control, to set boundaries with her mother, so her mother did not have a key to come and go as she pleased, the daughter reasserted her authority over herself and her children. The grandmother, thinking she had helped, had actually caused a great deal of harm.

The True Nature of Love: Setting Free Rather Than Possessing

So – you see how important it is that we set our children free to get on with their own lives. Children benefit knowing their parents are not distraught without them, that their parents are getting on with living happy and fulfilling lives, wherever possible. Knowing their

parents trust in them, treat them as grownups, respect them, means our children come back home to visit, because they really want to, not because they feel guilty.

Trust and teach your child to be as fully independent as possible, and now they are grown, trust and learn how to embrace your new independence and freedom.

Love is setting free. Possession is not love. Remember you can buy a beautiful song bird, put it in a cage, and maybe it will sing to you. Or – you can set the song bird free, and just maybe it will fly back to you and sing for a while, because it wants to.

Frequently asked anxiety counselling questions

Q. What is the main goal of family counselling?

A. The main goal of family counselling is to address psychological, behavioural, and emotional issues that cause problems within the family. It aims to identify and address these problems, helping family members develop and maintain healthy relationships with one another.

Q. How does family counselling help with mental health issues?

A. Family counselling can help with mental health issues by providing a space for individuals and families to work through conflicts, barriers, or mental health issues. It can also help reduce the risk of some mental health conditions in adolescents.

Q. How long does a family counselling session typically last?

A. A family counselling session typically lasts between 50 to 60 minutes.

Q. Can a family member have a one-on-one session with the family counsellor?

A. Yes, while most counselling sessions involve all family members, an individual can speak with a family counsellor one-on-one as needed.

Q. How many sessions of family counselling are generally needed?

A. The number of family counselling sessions needed can vary depending on the family’s situation. However, a typical treatment regimen often lasts around 12 sessions.

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