When you are receiving treatment for a mental health condition—whether that condition is depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any other mental health disorder—there may come a time when your therapist brings up the idea of family therapy. Family therapy is a form of group therapy that usually involves members of the nuclear family. This can mean your parents and siblings and/or your spouse and children if you have any. However, if you have never done any type of family therapy before, you may not know what to expect from the process or how family therapy might be helpful to you. Learn some of these benefits of family therapy so that you can better decide whether you want to give this therapeutic technique a try.
Resolving Conflicts in the Family
Families are complicated, and when mental health issues are a factor, things can get even more complicated and more intense. No matter what type of family dynamics you have, conflicts will inevitably occur. Learning how to resolve conflicts in healthy and productive ways can be one of the biggest benefits of family therapy.
The therapist will help to create a safe and structured space in which a conflict can be addressed and resolved. Every person will get to discuss their feelings about the situation and respond to the feelings of others. Then, the therapist will help guide the family to a solution that works for everyone in the family. The therapist will also give family members strategies to use to resolve future conflicts at home.
Helping Your Family Understand You
When you struggle with a mental health disorder, it can be easy to feel misunderstood and like you are not being truly heard by other people. Sometimes, people can be dismissive of what a person with a mental health disorder has to say because they assume that it is "just their disorder talking." This can be incredibly frustrating and invalidating.
In family therapy, you can work together with your therapist to help your family understand you and actually hear you. In therapy, everyone is given the opportunity to speak uninterrupted. Then, the rest of the group can discuss what was said and their feelings about what was said. You can then explain what you feel, why you may feel that way, and various other aspects of your mental health struggles.
The more you and your family members spend time together in family therapy, the better they will be able to relate to you and understand where you are coming from. You may all also learn improved communication skills and active listening skills to further improve your dialogue together going forward.
While these are just a few of the many ways that family therapy can help with your mental health treatment, you can begin to see just how beneficial this therapy option can be. For more information, speak to a therapy center, such as The Center for Family Counseling, Inc.