Families are comprised of some of the most important relationships in a child’s life and often these relationships can become complicated and strained. Children may be struggling to accept parents who are divorcing or cope with the effects of a divorce. Sometimes sibling relationships and rivalries become the focus of attention due to the stress that this can create in the whole family unit. As children mature, conflicts between a teen who is finding his/her identity and parents who have to set boundaries and pass on their values can arise. The source of stress may also come from outside of the home but have an impact on family relationships such as relocation, financial issues, extended family relationships and health concerns.
Typically, if the family is the main focus of attention, the family as a unit will be involved in sessions together. The counselor will work with the family to uncover its structure or general mode of operation, written and unwritten rules, where problems arise, and how they have been handled. From there, the family will work collaboratively to develop a family system that works better for them. Often this will include learning new communication strategies, discipline methods, problem-solving, and using family meetings. If the family or any member of the family cannot or should not be involved in sessions, the counselor will work with the client on understanding and coping with difficult family relationships.