The typical family has changed significantly over the last several decades.  A father, mother, and 2.5 children living in a house in the suburbs is no longer the norm.  Today, there are many types of families.  There are blended families in which one or both spouses has been married before and/or has children from a previous relationship.  There are married adults whose grown children live with them, sometimes with grandchildren living in the home, also.  The family unit takes many different forms.

Adjusting to these new arrangements can be challenging for the adults and children involved.  If you find that any member of the family is struggling to come to terms with the new living situation, you may find it helpful to seek family counselling.  This is particularly important if the difficulties faced by any family member involved are beginning to negatively impact the rest of the family unit.  When you decide to pursue family counselling, there are a few questions that you should ask to help you find the right fit.  Check out these tips below.

  1. What approach do you use?  Each therapist has their own style and approach.  Some use a teaching or coaching style, while others prefer to dig deep into family history and dynamics.  Some therapist use a short-term treatment approach, while others use a long-term treatment plan.  Asking the therapist to describe their approach to you will give you a bit of insight into the treatment to come.
  2. What do you do if a family member refuses to participate in counselling?  Often times, it can be difficult to convince everyone in the family to participate in counselling.  A good therapist can help guide you through this and offer suggestions on how to cope with resistance and encourage the missing family member to engage in the counselling process.
  3. What positive traits do you recognize in our family?  Even after one session, a good therapist should be able to pick up on some positive traits in your family.  This is important because you want a therapist to focus on the strengths that your family has and build upon those strengths rather than focusing strictly on pathology.
  4. How do you plan for the family to meet?  Some therapists meet strictly with the family as a whole, while others may wish to meet separately with the children or parents.  Ask the therapist what his/her intentions are regarding the structure and frequency of meetings.

There are some additional traits that you should look for in a family counsellor, including the following.

  • The counsellor should exhibit genuine interest in your family.
  • The counsellor should seem confident of his/her ability to help with your situation.
  • The counsellor should provide clear answers and explanations to your questions.
  • The counsellor should help your family set specific goals for therapy.
  • The counsellor should explain what benefits you can realistically expect to gain from therapy.
  • The counsellor should both listen carefully to the concerns of the family members and also provide clear direction to the family members.

It is important to choose a family counsellor who cares, communicates clearly, and meshes well with your family.  Using the tips supplied here will help you to achieve that.

The Family Enhancement Centre offers a variety of counselling services, including individual counselling, couples counselling, family counselling, and youth counselling.  Get in touch with us today to find a location near you or to book an appointment with one of our professional team members.

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We are a full service counselling centre dedicated to helping you achieve and maintain a state of wellness for yourself and your family.