There are several myths about family therapy, which include:
- Family therapy is just like traditional therapy.
- Family therapists have also thought that parents themselves are the root of their children’s issues.
- Family therapy involves the whole family going to therapy in all sessions.
- Family therapy is not effective.
Here are some facts that will undoubtedly straighten these fallacies.
A lot of people, when someone mentions ‘therapy’ to them, gets paranoid and immediately thinks about a person going in and out of a clinic, fiddling his hair, and talking to someone without any improvement at all. Well, the conventional talk therapy that typically takes several years with not-so-good results has gotten a negative reputation. And when parents learn about family therapy, they assume it’s another type of traditional therapy. This is the first fallacy about family therapy.
From the start, family therapy is described as something short and concise. This description caught my attention, which is why I turned to it in the first place. I used to be a behavioral therapist finding ways to reach out to my little patients and to yield quick results. My research let me to a family therapist who told me that child therapy could be successful after about seven sessions. Wow! Is that even plausible? But eventually, after a lot of talks and workshops with the therapist, I could swear that it was THE ONE that I was looking for. It wasn’t the conventional type of therapy that would take months or years. Family therapy was dedicated to resolving problems quickly and helping children and adults move forward the soonest time possible. It was then that I decided to study and practice family therapy – a brief type of therapy.
A lot of parents assume that when they go for family therapy, the therapist will tell them that it’s their fault why their children are suffering from their problems and worries. They think that they are asked to join the therapy primarily for this reason, which is why they already feel anxious if their child is sad or not doing well in school. And they don’t want to feel more devastated by being told by the therapist that their kids are problematic because of them in the first place. This is the second wrong impression of family therapy.
Among the essential concepts of family therapy is the idea of joining. Here, the word ‘joining’ pertains to the therapist respecting and listening meticulously to each family member during a therapy session. He may make suggestions about better parenting styles, like being clear about reinforcing rewards and punishment, for example. They may also give recommendations to parents about modifying specific ways of communicating with their children, such as to try talking firmly instead of yelling or arguing in front of them, or to recommend that they establish rules about the use of electronic devices, screen time, or choosing healthy kinds of food. However, the family therapist knows that he should build a strong connection with the children or child in therapy as well as his or their parents for the whole process to be successful.
Parents And Therapist As A Team
Most often, people who learn about family therapy think that all family members should be in the room for every session. This very thought would worry the parents because they might have scheduling problems. Nowadays, it’s hard enough for the whole family to all be present for dinner once or twice weekly – much less ask all of them to be around for therapy at a scheduled time. This is the third fallacy of family therapy.
It is significant to note that the early family therapists used to prefer the whole family to be present in all the sessions. Still, most therapists of today, particularly the younger and more open-minded ones, don’t typically work that way. Initially, they would see the parents, along with the child, only during the first session. After that, the parents are asked to go together without their child. Often, the family therapist works with the parents more than they do with the child, and after the first session, they sometimes don’t see the child anymore. As for teens, the therapist might see them with their parents initially, then the parents alone, and then the teen alone or with a sibling for the weekly sessions.
As a rule, family therapists find the sources of the child’s problem within his psyche or behavioral patterns, and his social background. A child can be sad or anxious because he saw his mom and dad fighting. A young girl bullies other kids at school because she’s troubled about the thought of her sick brother. A boy can have a lot of bad grades because he sees his favorite uncle or aunt failing in life. These may be harmless and incoherent circumstances to others, but to a family therapist, these are intertwined with unseen ropes. And they strive to make positive changes to the child’s background and way of thinking so that his behavior and mental being are improved, and his problems are resolved. Indeed, family therapy is effective in utilizing the connection and bond of the family to heal itself.