The family is a group of related individuals who depend on each other for a number of factors, both physical as well as psychological. However, the entire family is put into jeopardy when one of its members suffers psychologically and has trouble fitting in. Psychotherapists often recommend family counseling for all the members if the patient is overly dependent or detached from the family. Behavior of the other members or early upbringing is often identified as the main reason for psychological disturbances and the therapist usually chooses to counsel the whole family instead of the affected person alone.
It is usually the members of a nuclear family consisting of the parents and their children that are targeted for counseling services. The extended family is exempted from these sessions by and large unless the therapist decides otherwise.
The Psychotherapists hope to help each member of the family communicate better with each other and be sensitive to his/her problems. Learning how to solve their own conflicts within the family with sympathy and understanding also happens to be a key focus area during family counseling sessions. Accepting each member together with their qualities and shortcomings is a predominant factor too that helps the family to function as an effective unit especially during a crisis.
- The counselor observes each member of the family carefully first, noting the common traits as well as the behavioral pattern while interacting with them.
- Interaction between all the family members in a group session as well as on a 1-to-1 basis becomes significant when the behavioral patterns differ sharply between the two.
- When a single person happens to be in focus, it is his/her behavior that becomes all important. Interactions and reactions between the affected person and each member of the family play a key role here in identifying the root cause of the problem.
- Family members who are not directly involved in the conflict are often invited to observe the one-to-one interactions of the affected individual as well.
- The therapist makes the assessment after a number of closed door counseling sessions and then proceeds to teach the family members how to recognize their own problems and learn to communicate freely with each other.
- Resolving the conflict comes next and the therapist ascertains that each member of the family learns to help themselves and the family by providing the much needed support to the affected member thereby forcing him/her to overcome all negative emotions.