The Benefits Of Family Counseling

Updated October 6, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

There are many benefits to seeking family counseling. By seeking the help of a therapist who offers a family counseling service, you can develop and maintain quality, healthy family relationships. And if you or anyone in your family is facing relationship challenges or mental health concerns (such as anxiety or depression), a family counseling service offered by a licensed mental health professional can help. Emotional, behavioral, and relationship issues that are affecting the entire family can be addressed in healthy, productive ways when working with family counseling service therapist.

Family therapists can offer many benefits. Yet there can be just as many obstacles that prevent families from seeking the help of a family counseling service. Individuals and families often do not realize the barriers preventing them from seeking counseling. These can be the same ones that affect the ability of the family to adapt to change, communicate, avoid a crisis, cope with a tragic event, and address a mental health disorder. In this article, you will learn why family counseling can be a valuable asset and can strengthen the quality of your family relationship and how you can find the right family counseling service and therapist.

Wondering If Your Family Could Benefit From Counseling?

Reasons for Seeking Family Counseling

When families seek counseling, it is often because they have come to an impasse in their ability not only to resolve problems but also to recognize the origins and triggers of issues. Reaching out to a family counseling service can help. Conflict arises in all families in every community. Many families are not equipped to deal with these conflicts, and issues that are left unresolved can lead to a crisis. When a family reaches a crisis state, one or more family members may seek drastic measures to alleviate pain or stress. [5] Family counseling services can help family members manage and resolve the crisis and challenges.

People sometimes ask these questions about family counseling:

What is family counseling used for?

What therapy is best for families?

What is the difference between a family therapist and a counselor?

What can I expect from a family counseling session?

Does family counseling really work?

What are the main types of family therapy?

Can family therapy make things worse?

Can a family counseling service help me with parenting skills?

How do I prepare for family counseling?

What are the five approaches of family therapy?

Do I need counseling or therapy?

How can I find a family therapist online or in my community?

Does a family counselor work with both adults and children?

During times of crisis, individuals and families often find themselves in a fight-flight situation. Many individuals feel that fighting is the same as fighting for. When a person is fighting for their family, that means they are actively looking for ways to resolve issues and are working at mediating issues between other family members. The alternative to fighting for the family unit is to take flight and abandon the entire family unit. [7] Family counseling can help address the fight or flight situation. Knowing signs of distress or fight or flight behaviors can help you know if your loved one or your family is facing difficulties. Signs of fight or flight behaviors may be different for adults and adolescents.

Ways that adults escape include the following:

  • working extra hours or making excuses to go to the office
  • spending extra time at the gym
  • developing new hobbies or interests or spending more time on old ones
  • going out after work
  • using substances to excess
  • cheating
  • filing for a separation and/or divorce

Ways that teens and adolescents escape are as follows:

  • playing video games
  • being with friends and engaging in social activities
  • spending time on the phone and social media
  • participating in school activities or sports
  • sleeping
  • using drugs
  • running away

Relationships between adolescents—and children of all ages—and their parents sometimes become challenging, as can relationships between siblings. Seeking the support of a family counseling service can help resolve conflict, strengthen connections, and safeguard the wellbeing of family members. A family counseling service can also offer effective support for parenting. If you are feeling like one minute you were on parental leave for fathers and mothers taking care of your children and now they are teens who seem to want nothing to do with you, family counseling can help you work through this difficult time. 

When a family member reaches a crisis, they may feel the need for a permanent escape and might contemplate suicide. It is critical that families seek help before any person arrives at this point.

If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255, and is available 24/7. Please contact 911 right away if you or anyone else is in immediate danger.

If life just feels too overwhelming right now, you are not alone. By reaching out to an in-person or online therapist who is experienced in helping people with personal and family crises, you can be saving your life or the life of someone close to you. All families in every community experience conflict, but with family therapy, members can learn how to address issues productively.

There are many resources for help. Your family’s doctor can be a good person to ask about family counseling and mental health services. Your There are also community resources, such as the United Way or local health clinics that help you find the care you and your family need.

Proactive vs. Reactive Family Counseling

The first step to productive counseling (whether its family counseling, individual therapy, marriage counseling, or counseling to help with parenting) is realizing that there is nothing wrong with needing help. [14] People should not place themselves in emotional or physical danger for fear of other family members or the neighbors in the community talking. But working with a therapist is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s a sign of strength. So, if you have concerns about your family, your marriage, a member of your family, parenting, or yourself, please reach out for help. Therapists can offer support for mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. They can also offer family counseling service that’s individualized to meet your family’s needs. If you’re on a search to restore the quality of your relationships, working with a licensed mental health professional who offers family counseling service can help improve family life.

Family members who have reached a state of crisis may also be in a state of shock. Although ideally people would seek counseling before reaching a state of crisis, this is often not the case. [1] Sometimes families have lived in a state of dysfunction for so long that they do not know anything else, and it takes being shaken up by a tragic event to consider seeking help. Challenges such as infidelity, substance use disorder, divorce, or death may cause families to seek help. Family counseling can help people to face these challenges and find ways to heal.

But instead of seeking family counseling as a reaction to challenges and crisis, therapy can be proactive, not reactive. Good family counseling offers opportunities for intervention before tragic events occur.Working with a family counseling service can improve lives and relationships and help families grow closer, more united, and more complete.

Benefits of Family Counseling

When a family is in crisis, family counseling services can provide a safe environment where members can feel free to express feelings, ask questions, and generate ideas. There may also be times when families just need a quiet, neutral zone where there are no reminders of conflict [4]. Sometimes the challenges one family member is facing in life can affect the dynamics of the entire family so family counseling service from a therapist is needed.Once a family commits to working with a counselor, they can begin exploring strategies for improving communication and building or rebuilding healthy relationships [5]. Through a family counseling service, families can learn the following:

  • how to develop listening skills
  • how to avoid connotative language
  • how to avoid triggers
  • how to think before reacting
  • how to respect boundaries
  • how to develop conversation skills
  • how to develop communication skills
  • how to express empathy
  • how to have unconditional positive regard for other family members
  • how to clearly define a role and identify within the family and as an individual
  • how to help and not hurt loved ones
  • how to distinguish anger from hate
  • how to dislike actions and still love the actor
  • how to use "I" versus "you" statements while still communicating needs and desires
  • how to use and respect healthy parenting styles
  • how parents can demonstrate respect toward children and recognize children's need for space and individuality without giving up a position of authority
  • how body language speaks louder than words
  • how to ask for help
  • how to receive help
  • how to support the emotional and mental health of each family member

The above list is not exhaustive. There are many benefits to family counseling that are unique to each family unit and its situation. The family counseling service you choose to use can individualize a plan to serve your family’s needs and strengthen the quality of your relationships with one another.

Wondering If Your Family Could Benefit From Counseling?

Life-changing events can change a family dynamic. This is a time when families can benefit from counseling. Seeking face-to-face or online counseling in the community or online to assist everyone with healing and the adjustment period is helpful and could mean the difference between positive versus negative outcomes.

If gathering the family together to travel to a therapist’s office for family counseling service is a hindrance to seeking the help your family needs, consider online therapy. You can meet with a therapist from the comfort of your own home and at a time that works best for your family. Clients can have complete privacy. With virtual visits, you can meet with your therapist without any office staff or time spent in a waiting room.

This is a convenient way to access a family counseling service. Evidence has shown that telehealth (online therapy) sessions remove the barrier to accessing therapy, particularly for those families who live in rural areas and aren’t close to the office of a licensed mental health professional or don’t have counseling services in their community. It was also found that family therapy sessions delivered online are effective. Families reported that overall they were highly satisfied with the therapy and with the privacy that goes along with it.

Consider Family Therapy with BetterHelp

Families do not need to wait for a crisis or for a major event to seek help. Engaging a family counseling service proactively can help strengthen relationships and may prevent a crisis. BetterHelp offers flexible counseling options, such as email, chat, and video conferencing sessions as well as flexible fees and payment methods. In fact, a mission of BetterHelp is make mental health care more accessible, affordable, and convenient. (You can view BetterHelp’s mission statement here.) ThroughBetterHelp, you can visit with a licensed mental health professional who can serve the needs of your family. Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing a range of family challenges.

Counselor Reviews

"I came on to BetterHelp because I felt like I was a breaking point with my mental health and was having issues with my family that was going in no direction towards a solution. I met Kelli and with a few days of exploding and venting I felt so much better . I felt even better after a couple of weeks of discussing the different issues at home and she helped me look at things in different perspectives . I'm learning to relax and not waste my energies on pointless issues and issues that I don't have control over."

"After counseling with Dr Cothern for 4 weeks I have seen a huge difference in myself and my relationships with my family, she has helped me to see that what I am doing is good for me and that I shouldn't beat myself up when I do it say something that might be seen as being too forceful when really its not."

Conclusion

When you reach out for help, you and your family members can start tackling problems head-on with productive methods. Family counseling can make a significant difference in the health and happiness of all members. Seeking support is a sign a strength and the desire that you want things to change for the better. Take the first step today.

References

  1. Basinger, E. (2014). Communication for Families in Crisis: Theories, Research, Strategies , by Dickson, F. C., & Webb, L. M. (Eds.). Health Communication29(3), 321-322.
  2. Bouchard, G. (2014). How Do Parents React When Their Children Leave Home? An Integrative Review. Journal of Adult Development21(2), 69-79.
  3. Castro, S. de, &Guterman, J. T. (2008). Solution-Focused Therapy for Families Coping with Suicide. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy; Hoboken34(1), 93-106.
  4. Crittenden, P. M., &Dallos, R. (2009). All in the Family: Integrating Attachment and Family Systems Theories. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry14(3), 389-409.
  5. Cummings, E. M., & Schatz, J. N. (2012). Family Conflict, Emotional Security, and Child Development: Translating Research Findings into a Prevention Program for Community Families. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review; New York15(1), 14-27.
  6. Furstenberg, F. F., & Jr. (2010). On a New Schedule: Transitions to Adulthood and Family Change. The Future of Children; Princeton20(1). Retrieved from ;
  7. Hultman, T., Jackson, V., & Rinehart, T. (2010). Working with Families in Crisis: A Strength-Based Approach (525). Journal of Pain and Symptom Management39(2), 417-418.
  8. Mitchell, B. A., & Wister, A. V. (2015). Midlife Challenge or Welcome Departure? Cultural and Family-Related Expectations of Empty Nest Transitions. International Journal Of Aging & Human Development81(4), 260-280.
  9. Parker, S. K., Bindl, U. K., & Strauss, K. (2010). Making Things Happen: A Model of Proactive Motivation. Journal of Management36(4), 827-856.
  10. Patterson, T. (2014). A Cognitive Behavioral Systems Approach to Family Therapy. Journal of Family Psychotherapy25(2), 132-144.
  11. Rosen, E., Ackermen, L., &Zosky, D. (2002). The sibling Empty Nest Syndrome: The Experience of Sadness as Sibling Leave The Family Home. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment6(1), 65.
  12. Stanley, B., & Brown, G. K. (2012). Safety Planning Intervention: A Brief Intervention to Mitigate Suicide Risk. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice19(2), 256-264.
  13. STUIFBERGEN, M. C., VAN DELDEN, J. J. M., & DYKSTRA, P. A. (2008). The implications of today's family structures for support giving to older parents. Ageing and Society; Cambridge28(3), 413-434.
  14. Welton, D. (2006). BEING NORMAL: SOCIAL STIGMA AGAINST THE MENTALLY ILL AND THEIR FAMILIES. Journal of Pastoral Counseling41. Retrieved from

Dr. E is very understanding and empathetic. He points you in the right direction on how to solve your problems and gives you the correct tools to do so! He is an expert on handling family relationship matters! Thank you Doc!

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

Speak with a Licensed Therapist
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.