As psychodynamic therapy emphasizes, family issues can be so compelling that we feel the need to unconsciously play them out in our other close relationships. Mediation through family therapy is often called for to resolve these issues.
The family is a system, much like the human body. Just as the entire body suffers when one of its parts dysfunctions or fails to work in harmony with the rest of the body, the entire family suffers when one of its members suffers or is “out of sync.”
Parents often unconsciously repeat certain patterns and behaviors of their own parents, both desirable and undesirable, and can find themselves stuck in a kind of repeating loop over generations. A daughter who complains of an angry, emotionally volatile father, for instance, oftentimes finds herself marrying the same type of man later on.
The issues of an individual family member are often a reflection of some conflict within the family system as a whole. It is difficult to treat adolescent problems and family issues without also addressing problems that likely underlie the supporting family structure.
As is the case with couples therapy, individual issues often play out within the family, and family therapy can help address these issues. Certain roles within the family may have become so habitual or ingrained over time that the family grows distant, stagnant, and even suffocating. For example, a domineering father may fail to notice that this way of relating interferes with having close relationships with his children. Or children may have learned manipulative, aggressive, or self-devaluing behaviors in an attempt to fit in with certain unspoken family patterns.
Much of our life learning happens early in life, and is strongly influenced by the viewpoints of our family members. Our parents and older siblings tend to play an especially important role in shaping our views later in life. Sometimes the life messages our families convey are incomplete, overly negative, or fundamentally constricting. At times, individuals hold on to these self-limiting beliefs without even realizing they are doing so. Self-limiting beliefs and attitudes learned early on often complicate many adult issues such as:
- Romantic Relationships
- Financial Attitudes
- Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem
- Sexual Issues
- Anger Management
- Substance Use
How Do I Get Started?
First, learn more about counseling for families. If you would like to book an appointment, or have further questions, please call Dallas Whole Life Counseling at 972-755-0996 or contact us via this website.