Family Counselling assists family members in finding constructive ways to support each other. It focuses on families and other relationships, sharing and respecting individuals’ different perspectives and exploring possible ways to move forward from trying situations.
Family Counselling is particularly helpful for:
- Building or maintaining Family relationships
- Support during changes in family life
- Child/adolescent mental health & behaviour issues
- Parenting issues
- Couple relationships
- Supporting families through Behavioural, Emotional or Mental disorder
- Supporting families through Separation & Divorce
Some of today's most common family related issues are Attachment disorders, Divorce and Stepfamily issues. Family Counselling has assisted many families through changes, by providing supportive listening, guidance, encouraging acceptance and exploring the feelings of everyone involved.
Socio-economic status has very little to do with the ability to establish successful attachment relationships. Children who have had a succession of nannies, or orphaned children who spend their early years in orphanages or move from one foster home to the next are at risk for severe attachment disruption. It can also occur as a result of severe illness in the parent or the child, parental unavailability, or emotional trauma. Some children have inborn disabilities or temperaments that make it difficult for them to form a secure attachment, no matter how hard the parent tries. In any case, there generally are several factors involved. The major causes of attachment disorders are:
* neglect, including emotional neglect
* abuse, physical or sexual
* separation from the primary caregiver
* changes in primary caregiver
* traumatic experiences such as a death of parent or disaster
* maternal depression
* maternal use of drugs or alcohol
* undiagnosed, isolating painful illness such as colic or ear infections
Separation and Divorce can be devastating but there are things you can do to support and comfort your child through the process. There are things you may also unwittingly do that can make coping with separation and divorce harder for your child - now and in future relationships.
Learn how to help your child cope with the negative short and long-term effects of separation and divorce, as well as ways to help prevent trauma and decrease hardship. Challenges that are confronted effectively can improve relationships and strengthen your child's ability to cope.
When talking with your children about separation or divorce, it is important to be honest but not critical of your spouse. Most children want to know why their lives are being upset. Depending on the age of your children and reason for divorce, this may require some diplomacy. As children mature, they will probably want more information.
Here are a few suggestions:
* Make plans to talk with your children before any changes in the living arrangements occur.
* Plan to talk when your spouse is present, if possible.
* Remind your children of your love for them.
* Be respectful of your spouse when giving the reasons for the separation.
* Tell them that your marriage problems are not their fault. Let them know they are not responsible for fixing them.
* Tell them about changes in living arrangements, school or activities. Let them know when they will happen. But do not overwhelm children with details.
* Be emotionally available to comfort them. Even if there has been much conflict in the home, children may deeply experience the loss of the leaving parent, or the loss of hope for reconciliation.
Blended families - Step-families
Studies show that children of stepfamilies face a higher risk of emotional and behavioural problems. They also are less likely to be resilient in stressful situations. Although most parents are able to work out these difficulties within the family, they should consider a Psychiatric evaluation for their child when he/she exhibits strong feelings of being:
* alone in dealing with his/her losses
* torn between two parents or two households
* isolated by feelings of guilt and anger
* unsure about what is right
* very uncomfortable with any member of his/her original family or stepfamily.
Professional support might be appropriate for both the child and the family when:
* the child directs his anger towards a particular family member or openly resents a step-parent or parent;
* one of the parents suffers from stress and is unable to help with the child's increased need for attention;
* a step-parent or parent openly favours one of the children;
* discipline of a child is left to the parent rather than involving both the step-parent and parent;
* members of the family derive no pleasure from usually enjoyable activities such as learning, going to school, working, playing, or being with friends and family.
By devoting the necessary time to develop their own traditions and form caring relationships, step-families can create emotionally rich and lasting bonds for each member. In the process, the children acquire the self-esteem and strength to enjoy the challenges that lie ahead.
Family Counselling can bring about change with individuals and also in their relationships with family and beyond, so children, young people, adults and/or those important to them are supported.