Within family life, communication can become strained and difficult particularly at times of significant life stresses and unpredicted events such as bereavement, unemployment, mental illness, physical illness, separation and divorce. In conjunction with this the inevitable life changes particularly for children experiencing change of school, issues of identity, and the transition challenges of adolescence can bring anxiety. Such challenges can affect family’s dynamics differently dependent on respective family members relationship to the change process. For some families change within the lifecycle can both strengthen and weaken family relationships. This is often linked to the intergenerational and parental narratives around resilience and parents own respective attachment history.
Family Therapy offers a process for change in a safe therapeutic environment to express difficult feelings safely together, within the process of developing more open communication, the potential exists for the exploration of difficult feelings together, encouraging positive change and building on family strengths with a view to fostering resilience.
Family therapy starts with a joined assessment session with all family members where the identified issues of concerns around communication are identified and reframed within a relational context modelling a none blaming stance. For example, if there is a particular issue or presentation which is not being named and has become the unsaid but problematic “elephant in the room” the family will be encouraged to start exploring for themselves their underlying anxiety which to date has been a barrier to open dialogue. Concurrent individual sessions are subsequently offered for approximately three appointments to afford all respective family members the therapeutic space to process these feelings, whilst giving them the opportunity to express their views within an unfiltered way. This affords the opportunity for there to be a balanced alliance with all family members ensuring that each person’s narrative is equally validated and understood by myself as the therapist. Within the joining phase of the family therapy with all respective family members, the process of facilitating different and difficult conversations can start to take place.