Let’s face it: all kinds of relationships are rollercoaster rides. They have ups and downs. People in a romantic relationship are not the only ones who experience this. Families also go through this too. Even the most loving and happiest family in the world will face moments of tension which can grow into something serious if left unresolved.
While some families can resolve these conflicts on their own, there are some which require professional interventions. Deciding whether your family should seek family counseling is a serious matter. It requires input from all of the family members. So, what are the signs that you need to undergo family counseling? Let us explore some of them.
Your Family Members Display Extreme Negative Emotions
Do you feel that some of the members of the family display extreme sadness, excessive anger, depression symptoms, constant fear, and other negative emotions? If yes, this might be due to the anxiety he or she feels when other family members are around. Take note that Aarti Gupta, PsyD, says “Negative stress, or ‘distress,’ is more chronic, hinders optimal functioning, and can be detrimental to your health.”
Your Family Has The Same Arguments Every Single Time
Do you have that feeling of déjà vu because your family arguments keep on repeating and repeating every time? It means that you cannot come up with the best solution to resolve all of your issues. If you can’t manage all of these arguments properly, this will only result in endless disagreements where you will blame each other and fight to your heart’s content. Believe it or not, no kind of resolution will happen.
If you are experiencing this, Anita Chlipala, author of “First Comes Us: The Busy Couple’s Guide To Lasting Love” and a professional licensed family and marriage therapist, recommends seeking counseling to break away from the toxicity. According to Trudi Griffin, LPC, “Family counseling can work with the whole group or only with willing family members. If you’re interested in this kind of therapy, talk to your loved ones about attending.”
“You have the same arguments over and over again, and a family therapist can teach you to identify which issues are situational and perpetual. For the latter, those are the arguments that are recurring and need to be managed, not solved. We have tools for that,” Chlipala advises.
Your Family Members Do Not Hangout Together Anymore
Remember the weekly game nights and daily dinner sessions? If you cannot remember when your family last did this, then some of the members of the family might be starting to withdraw from the family life. This kind of seclusion might contribute to more fights and misunderstandings since you do not allocate time to resolving family issues.
Your Family Members Blame Everything On Each Other
One sign that your family relationship has gone downhill is when you see that a family member can easily blame another member with the things that have gone wrong. This passing of blame can happen in any issues—may it be as small as the refrigerator breaking down up to a complicated problem such as financial issues.
Dr. Fran Walfish, the author of “The Self-Aware Parent” and a famous relationship and family psychotherapist, says making every member of the family accountable for their words and actions can help solve these conflicts.
“The first and most important thing a person learns by talking to a stranger, counselor, therapist, or clergyman is self-awareness and accountability. Hearing your voice verbalize problems and issues forces one to acknowledge their shortcomings much better than hearing it from someone else,” Dr. Walfish says.
The Children Are Showing Significant Changes In Behavior Both In School And At Home
Observing the behavior of children can be a definite sign on whether your family needs any intervention. If there are significant negative changes in their actions in both their schools and home, this is a red flag indicating something is happening wrong. Here are some of the questions you can ask yourself:
- Are the child’s grades dropping significantly?
- Are they showing any disruptive behavior in school—may it be towards their teachers or their friends?
- Do they lack motivation in going to their classes which results in attendance problems?
- Are they starting to show any rebellion at home?
- Are they associating themselves with the wrong group of friends?
- Are you suspecting substance abuse?
If most of your answers in these questions are “yes,” then maybe it is best if you start talking to your family for possible family counseling sessions.
Your Family Experienced A Traumatic Experience
Whenever families suffer from a traumatic experience—may it be a death of a family member, a discovered affair, or a divorce or a separation—this is the time they usually face complications in the family. It is because emotions are high from the hardship of coping with this trauma.
If you feel that your family is showing some of these signs, make sure to bring up the possibility of seeking professional help. Engaging in family counseling is not a sign of defeat. Rather, it is an important step in fixing the relationship of the whole family. Remember, though, that everyone should be on board with the decision first for it be effective.