What Are the Benefits of Family Therapy?
Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy that tries to enhance family communication and relationships. It is a team-based strategy that assists families in identifying and addressing problems that may be creating conflict or distress.
Benefits of family therapy include improved interaction, more understanding and empathy, problem-solving abilities, and closer relationships between family members. Working together, families may learn to overcome obstacles, strengthen bonds, and create a more supportive and enjoyable home environment.
What Is Family Therapy?
Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on family interactions. It is a collaborative method in which all family members work together to identify and resolve problems that create conflict or discomfort. Family therapy sessions with a therapist or counselor usually include open conversations and problem-solving activities.
The fundamental principles of family therapy are based on the idea that families are systems and issues affecting one member of the family might affect the rest of the clan. The members of a family may improve their ability to communicate and engage positively with one another if they work together to recognize and alter destructive patterns of behavior.
Several problems are improved with the use of family therapy. Even when there aren't any glaring issues, it may improve family interactions and bonding.
Common Goals of Family Therapy
The goal of family therapy is to improve communication, lessen arguments, and forge closer ties among family members.
The purpose of family therapy is to help family members better understand and care for one another by identifying and resolving dysfunctional patterns of interaction. In addition to bringing people closer together, it might also help them learn to solve problems, increase their awareness of others' perspectives, and enhance their ability to communicate with one another.
Ultimately, family therapy seeks to create a more supportive and fulfilling home environment where all family members feel heard, understood, and valued.
Benefits of Family Therapy
Family therapy can offer a range of benefits for individuals and families, including:
Overall, the benefits of family therapy can be far-reaching, providing individuals and families with the tools they need to navigate challenges, resolve conflicts, and build better and more fulfilling relationships.
Family therapy is a valuable tool for improving communication, resolving conflicts, and strengthening relationships within the family unit.
By working together to identify and address issues, families can learn to develop effective coping strategies and problem-solving skills, leading to a more supportive and fulfilling home environment.
Whether dealing with behavioral issues, mental health challenges or simply seeking to enhance family dynamics, one of the top benefits of family therapy sessions is that they provide a safe and validating space for families to learn and grow together. If you’re in or around Rockwall, TX, contact the family therapy experts at Elevate Rockwall to schedule an appointment today.
Do you need help with an adolescent child who refuses therapy? This is a difficult question parents face when their teen displays signs of mental health issues. Parents can face a tough decision regarding their teen's mental health if they begin showing signs of emotional issues.
You may feel like you have no good options available if your adolescent resists professional help and support. However, understanding why adolescents refuse therapy and the benefits they could receive from seeking treatment can provide insight into how best to approach this situation with care and compassion.
So how do you help an adolescent child who refuses therapy? Let’s explore some of the reasons why, as well as potential strategies for helping them accept assistance, and resources that may be available should you decide to pursue further intervention for your child who refuses therapy.
Why Do Teen Children Refuse the Therapy That They Need?
Adolescents may spurn counseling on various grounds, like the apprehension of assessment or lack of knowledge of what therapy is. Major obstacles to getting a teenager to accept therapy include fear of judgment, a lack of trust, and feelings of discomfort.
Fear of Judgment
Adolescents may be reluctant to open up about their feelings in front of adults due to a fear of being judged or misunderstood. They may be wary of expressing themselves, especially in front of an adult they don’t know. Consulting a therapist, then, can be challenging for them.
Remember what it was like to be a teenager. You were worried about what your friends thought, what the cool kids were doing, whether you wore the right clothes, and if the music you listened to was acceptable to your peers. Kids still feel those things. And there’s mounting evidence that social media tendencies are exacerbating them. so the risk of making them feel judged is always a real one.
Alleviating the apprehension of being judged requires cultivating a space where teens feel secure and valued when disclosing their issues.
Lack of Trust
Another reason some adolescents may not want therapy stems from a distrust of the process or the therapist. And if they’ve had negative past experiences with other adults or professionals, they might be further entrenched in the belief that more therapy isn’t an answer.
Building trust with an adolescent who refuses therapy means extending patience and understanding to the teenager who needs help during times of difficulty.
Many adolescents have no desire to talk about personal matters. It can be intimidating and overwhelming and lead them to avoid therapy altogether. Therapists must take the time to get acquainted before diving into more serious topics. Taking this time allows teens to adjust before delving deeper into conversations regarding mental health concerns or emotional struggles they are facing.
Teenagers may also see the admission of a need for help as a sign of weakness. Many people recognize this admission as a sign of true strength, but few of those people are teenagers. Seeking professional assistance shows courage, strength, and resilience. And most kids have all those qualities.
There may also be an element of fear or embarrassment, so a teenager's insistence that “I don’t need any help” may be a cover for not wanting to admit to feeling apprehension.
Is It Okay to Force Your Adolescent Child to Get Treatment?
The short answer is usually not. A teenager who feels compelled to seek treatment is unlikely to feel motivated to change. Even if they get dragged to their appointments, talking about their feelings will likely be low on their list of priorities that day.
That doesn’t mean you can’t require your teen to attend a few sessions. As mentioned above, a skilled therapist should be able to set the teenager at ease in those few mandatory sessions and perhaps make inroads that will help the client realize the necessity and importance of the process.
Since we were all teens at some point, we can recognize that a teenager might not want his parents to know he’s enjoying the process or that it’s helping. If a teenager complains about going to therapy, but you’re not having to haul them in kicking and screaming each week, it might be going better than they’re letting on.
All this goes by the wayside, though, if an adolescent is at risk of hurting themselves or someone else. Risky behaviors are also red flags that can justify forcing a kid into a therapist’s office.
How Do You Help an Adolescent Child Who Refuses Therapy?
Overcoming objections can make an enormous difference in talking a teenager down from their adamant refusal to participate in therapy.
1. Explain What Therapy Is
How many teenagers know anything about anything? Not a majority. We often fear what we don’t understand, so getting your adolescent to understand what therapy is may do a lot to help.
Age-appropriate explanations can help someone understand better what the process entails. Young children need to know that they won’t get any shots. Teenagers might need specific instruction about client confidentiality and that nothing they share with a therapist will get back to mom and dad.
Having a better understanding of what they can expect may help assuage your teenager’s doubts.
2. Make Them Part of the Process
Just as we avoid tantrums from our kids when they’re toddlers by giving them choices, we can help teenagers better accept therapy and the need for it by giving them some input into the process.
Offer different treatment options, allow them to essentially “audition” a therapist or two, and allow them to have a part in the final decision. This thought process is similar to the one many people use with the type of work supervisor who needs to believe that the new office procedure was his idea.
3. Find the Right Therapist
Every patient is different, no matter what age. Therapists won’t be one-size-fits-all. You’ll need to find one that your teenager can work with. If they don’t like or respect the person they are working with, therapy will be ineffective.
If your teen has tried therapy in the past and didn’t get anything out of it, ask questions. What didn’t they like? What helped? What didn’t? (And make them give real answers as opposed to the non-communicative catch-alls many teenagers use: “Nothing helped. It was all terrible.”)
These questions can help you select a therapist and make your teenager more amenable to the process.
4. Don’t Give Up
Helping an adolescent child who refuses therapy is not a one-conversation undertaking. Important conversations aren’t typically settled in one sitting. Progress may come gradually. So don’t give up on the conversation. If your child says no the first time you talk about therapy, keep trying.
It’s also important to continue listening to how your teen feels and what they think they need. Use the strategies above and try asking clinicians what they would recommend.
5. Bring Up the Subject With Your Teen Positively
If you think your teen might need counseling, how you broach the subject is very important. The first conversation you have will likely set the tone for your teen’s attitude toward therapy.
It’s common for teens to be embarrassed by their problems, and it can be hard for them to admit they need help. As such, it’s important to avoid sending a message that could cause feelings of shame.
You don’t want to imply your teen is crazy, that there’s something wrong with them, or that they’re not smart enough to make good choices. Instead, share why you believe counseling is important and how it could be helpful. Ask for input from your teen and be willing to listen to your teen’s opinions.
If you experience therapy yourself, consider sharing that with your teen, which can normalize it and remove some of the stigma the adolescent may associate with it.
The decision to help an adolescent child who refuses therapy is a difficult one. It requires understanding why they may be refusing, exploring the potential benefits of therapy, and considering strategies that can make it easier for them to engage in treatment.
If you are worried about your adolescent’s mental health and well-being, do not hesitate to seek professional assistance. There are many resources available that can provide support as you work with your adolescent on their journey towards healing and growth.
Take action now to help an adolescent child who refuses therapy. Reach out to us at Elevate Counseling for guidance on how best to approach the situation with empathy, understanding, and patience.
Lara Yates, LCSW
Lara is a therapist who sees clients at Elevate Counseling Group in Rockwall, TX. Lara works with teens, adults and couples.
After 15 years in the field of mental health, I have come to learn there is a huge learning curve for families that comes when seeking the RIGHT provider for you. Most Americans can tell me the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist; a cardiologist and a primary care doctor; a surgeon and a nurse. So why is there so much naiveté when it comes to the world of mental health and all the different providers? I think it comes with the massive stigma attached to seeking out treatment (more on that later in another blog post) and the lack of education in schools and our homes. If it’s not “cool” or accepted to talk about it, a lot don’t know about it.
A common complaint I hear is “I went to see a psychiatrist and they didn’t listen” or “I saw a therapist but she never put me on medication.”
The goal of this post is to educate and break this down for you, so you can choose the right provider or path for you, according to what you are looking for.
*Disclaimer- I am NOT saying one provider or license is better than any other. We all serve different purposes and have been trained to focus on different things. We are all parts of one large community that would be worse off if we didn’t have the variety we did.* This is not one size fits all. It is YOUR responsibility to do your research to find who is right for you.
With that being said, let’s begin.
PSYCHIATRIST- A psychiatrist is a medical doctor. An M.D. They went to school to learn about your brain, its chemistry and medication. Their sole job is to listen to your symptoms, diagnose, and PERSCRIBE MEDICATION. So often I hear complaints about psychiatrist, “they didn’t talk to me, and they didn’t listen.” With good intentions I think the public will often set them up for failure, expecting something out of them they are not trained to do. Their job is not to provide therapy. They are the doctor of the brain, medication management is their goal. These doctors aid in the overall health when medication management can be PARTNERED with talk therapy.
PSYCHOLOGIST- A psychologist is also a doctor but holds a PhD. They tend to focus more on
administering assessments (i.e. IQ test, ADHD assessments, psychological evaluations, and more). While they can perform therapy, most entered into a PhD program for research purposes. You CAN diagnose and provide therapy with a Master’s degree; the main purpose for moving forward with a PhD is research.
THERAPIST (LPC & LCSW)- I am grouping these two license holders together for the sake of the length of this blog. The two (Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Clinical Social Worker) are different in a lot of ways when it comes to our boards, our training, and backgrounds. BUT we are similar enough to group together for the time being. Both diagnose and provide therapy. A social worker CAN become a therapist after going further in education, licensing, and obtaining thousands of hours in training. I personally hold an LCSW. I get a lot of shock when people learn my background and roots are in social
work. There is a lot of stigma in that itself and people assume I just work for CPS or “take kids out of homes” (again, another blog post later on LPC vs LCSW tracks). Therapists are trained in dozens and dozens of different theories, therapy modalities, and can work with children, adults, families, and couples. Both are trained in the life span (birth to death) and all diagnoses found in the DSM-V (our bible for diagnosing and mental health disorders). Therapist CAN NOT prescribe medication. We are the talk therapy portion of your care. If we begin working with you and feel you would benefit from being on medication, we will often write a letter to either your psychiatrist or primary care doctor, often citing you are under our care and what symptoms we are noticing. We may encourage you to get an evaluation to see if medication would work best in you, while continuing to see us as therapist. Think of
it as a treatment team of support around you. What therapist do not do, is give our opinion. My clients will often ask “well, what do you think? Tell me what to do.” That is not our job. You can get that for free from a friend having coffee. Our job is to partner with you in finding the best version of yourself you can be, through different treatment modalities and therapies that fit best for whatever you are walking through. Opinions do not heal trauma. Therapy does. I bring this up because while we are talking about titles, often lines can get blurred of clients wanting their therapist to be their friend. It’s understandable. It can be very intimate sharing pain, your story and your healing with someone.
LPC-A- I thought this credential was worth mentioning. If you notice your therapist has a letter “A” after their license, this means they are working on becoming fully licensed (LPC, the ‘A’ will drop off) after obtaining 3,000 hours, under the supervision of a LPC-Supervisor. So, if you are looking for a more seasoned therapist, this is important to know.
While there are still many more credentials I did not cover, my goal was to hit on the most common feedback I hear in my practice. I truly hope this was helpful. There can be frustration when time and money are lost and if you feel you have spent energy towards the possible wrong provider; depending on what your goals are. This can often make people want to quit. Please keep going. Finding the right therapist/doctor for you can be like dating; not everyone is a good match. Advocate for yourself and ask questions. You will not offend your mental health provider.
Lara Yates, LCSW is a therapist who sees clients at Elevate Counseling Group in Rockwall, Texas.
Lara Yates, LCSW