Families can bring some of the strongest relationships we’ll ever experience, but that closeness can also spark conflict. In this week’s Mental Wellness Wednesday, therapists explain how family therapy can help improve communication and lead to better cooperation.
“Families sometimes think that we shouldn’t talk about something because it might create more stress or think, I don’t want to worry mom or I don’t want to worry my husband or I don’t want to do something that might create more conflict, then they start to maybe hold things inside,” Boys and Girls Home Clinical Therapist Rosey Stronck said.
When family members decide to hold in those feelings, that’s when many start to see signs of a problem.
“When we hold things inside, it comes out somewhere,” Stronck said. “Many times it comes out in our behavior or how we interact with others, so we might be more angry or temperamental or be more frustrated and act out a little more.”
Family therapy can help everyone share their indivuals perspective in a safe place, no matter their age.
“Even if you have a four-year-old or five-year-old child might say, you know mommy and daddy argue a lot and it bothers me,” Stronck said.
Family therapists often use games, toys or other tools to help spur on those family conversations, helping everyone in the family share their view and opinion. It can help family member identify challenges they often are not able to recognize on their own.
“Mommy and daddy might not know they’ve been arguing more, because they’ve been stressed out because of work,” Stronck said.
Those continued revelations and conversations can help everyone in the family learn some helpful tools.
“The kids might decide, ok we’re not going to ask them things right away when they come home from work, we’re going to give them like 15, 20 minutes of breathing time,” Stronck said. “This is how we can give mom and dad some breathing time.”
Ideas the whole family can address together to learn how everyone in the family can help manage any stress that comes their way.
“Sometimes, when kids come home from school they might have some struggles too and just need some down time.
Ways to help the whole family move forward in a healthy way.
“That’s our ultimate goal in family counseling,” Stronck said. “How are we going to make things different, what are we going to do differently moving forward.”