Family counseling allows an entire family to open communications with one another and to resolve issues that are affecting the family as a whole. Family counseling can be done with any type of family, whether it is a traditional two parent family, a single parent family or an adoptive, blended or step family. Different counselors use different approaches to family therapy. Some counselors will have all members of the family gather each session to work out communications issues together; other therapists may break family sessions down into smaller components, meeting sometimes with parents/adult partners together and other times with individual family members.
Whatever type of family counseling you choose, working as a family can resolve many difficult dynamics that often do not respond to individual counseling. In every family system, there is a dynamic, or pattern of behavior and communication, which develops through the family’s history. Intervening on just one or two people in this family system often will not address the larger communication difficulties that are creating conflict. Sometimes doing individual counseling with someone in a family can assist that individual in breaking patterns on his or her own, but then as soon as s/he steps back into the family system, the patterns re-emerge because the FAMILY dynamic has not changed. This is the value of family counseling: it works on the dynamics and communications difficulties of the family as a unit, so that lasting change can be achieved for all family members.