Category: Family Therapy

Young parents arguing while child holds her hands over her ears.

Tips on Better, More Authentic Parenting

The job of a parent isn’t easy. Despite our best efforts, we may find ourselves put in the position where we will have to make difficult choices. This means that there will be times where our children aren’t happy with us, but does that make us bad parents? The answer, in short, is no. Sometimes doing what is best for our children isn’t the same thing as doing what makes them happy. That’s not to say that we don’t aim to do the opposite, of course. Learning to be an authentic parent is a lifelong challenge. As parents, we also do what we can, when we can, to make our children smile. In this way, parenting can be like a double-edged sword. But the risks are always outweighed by the reward: building a better life and a successful future for our children.

When trying to guide and teach children, parents must remember to be mindful of what they say and how they say it. I’m sure most of us can recall a time at some point or another during our lives where our own parents ended up saying or doing something that hurt us. While their intentions may have been good, the memory and terrible feelings associated with it remain. These feelings may have even had a negative impact on our lives and/our choices, such as dissuading us from pursuing our dreams.

The Dangers of Being an Over-Protective Parent

More often than not, in instances such as these, our parents were merely trying to protect us from the unfortunate situation of having our dreams crushed or getting hurt. But in doing so, they may have unfortunately done the very same thing, themselves. No stranger to this sort of situation, Dr. Steven Joseph states that “Many people, when they think about their childhood, will recall times when their wishes, dreams, or aspirations were ignored, laughed at, or dismissed by someone whose role was to nurture and care for them.” An internationally-known leading expert in positive psychology, Dr. Joseph has heart many cases which resemble this exact situation. The reasons are almost always the same: “those parents and other adults say and do these things out of a misplaced desire to be helpful.  It may be that they genuinely think they are helping.”

As parents, we would never go out of our way to hurt our children intentionally. When we steer them away from something it’s because we’re trying to keep them safe. The problem lies, however, in our limited perspectives. In essence, we end up trying to guide our children towards what we feel is best for them, however this perspective only encompasses our point of view. In doing this, we end up trying to mold our children into the shapes we find most desirable, or, put in other words, we sometimes guide them down paths that we want them to explore, not the ones that they want or that will fulfill their needs.

Raising Children as Individuals

While our intentions may be good, noble, even, it doesn’t excuse our actions. As a parent, our lives will be full of tough choices but sometimes what is best for our children isn’t what we want. Rather, it is what they need. There will be times when these two vital things simply do not intersect, and we must be prepared for it when the time comes. To this, Dr. Joseph recommends something that he calls “authentic parenting.” This, he explains, “starts with the belief that each person is unique in what they bring to the world. Like an acorn that has the potential to grow into an oak tree if it receives the right amount of sunlight and nutrients from the soil, authentic parents do their best to care for and nurture their child so that he or she develops to their full potential.”

When we learn to see our children as individuals, and not just our babies, we learn to recognize their true potential, or what they can contribute to this world. In order to do this, we must learn how to listen carefully to their voices and learn to distinguish their superficial wants from their honest needs. Sometimes the latter can be lost in translation, resulting in their being unintentionally pushed by the wayside. By doing our best to understand their point of view, including their desires and wishes, and learning the difference between guidance and controlling, we can help to open up a whole new world of possibilities for our children, rather than just limiting them to a selection of preferred options. Our job as parents, then, is not to direct the lives of our children, but to enable and empower them to go in their own direction.

Learning to be an Authentic Parent

It all starts by showing interest. However, many of us are guilty of misunderstanding what that means. As Dr. Joseph explains, “Showing interest in your children is not telling them about your record collection or pushing them to play the sports that you liked as a child.  No, it’s about finding out what interests them and being interested in their world.” Showing interest is done by listening and asking our children what they think and feel, thereby demonstrating a genuine desire to understand them. In doing so, we can better support our children as individuals, and encourage them to be who they want to be, not who they think we want them to be. After all, we will love them no matter what. Therefore, we must allow them to be themselves.

Our children are ultimately going to follow a path that is different from our own, and that is perfectly fine. That being said, it can be difficult to provide advice when we don’t fully understand the direction they’re going, but we can still help by providing our love, support, and willingness to understand. We can help our children in developing the skills they need to navigate their own world, rather than focusing our energy on constructing that world for them.

It’s true that parenting can be challenging, but no one is perfect and mistakes are to be expected. Does this make us bad parents? No, so long as we learn from our mistakes and understand that an apology now and then doesn’t mean that we’re “losing” or that we’re incompetent. It just means that, like our children, and like our parents before us, we’re still learning. For life’s more difficult lessons, a family therapist can be a good method of learning new tactics and strategies of communication. They key is that we, and our children, are learning together, rather than growing apart.

For information about meeting with a family therapist in Boca Raton, call our office @ 800-378-9354.
Older business man sitting at work desk while looking up into the air as if he is thinking to remember.

How Therapy can Potentially Treat Memory Loss

I’m sure from time to time we’ve all experienced lapses in our memory. Perhaps we’ve entered a room and forgotten the reason why, or we’ve forgotten to pack something we meant to for a trip. However, if these lapses are recurrent and frequent then it might be more than mere forgetfulness at work. Memory loss can range from mild to extreme. After all, there’s a difference between forgetting to buy milk at the grocery store and forgetting something far more important like a doctor’s appointment or skipping a meal because we’ve forgotten to eat. As with many other ailments, the key to treating memory loss is to strike immediately as a problem is identified. Waiting longer means that it will only get worse. Memory loss is not something that will simply resolve itself over time, luckily there are a number of treatments available to help treat memory loss and keep it from worsening.

Using Therapy to Treat Memory Loss

Dr. Diane Roberts Stoler is a board certified health psychologist, neuropsychologist, board-certified sports psychologist, and trauma therapist with over 35 years of experience. In 1990 Dr. Stoler suffered a stroke while driving, resulting in a head-on auto collision at 60mph. Since then, Dr. Stoler has undergone brain surgery and sustained two more concussions. Dr. Stoler uses her experience and expertise to help educate individuals on brain health and fitness as well as how to recover from significant trauma. She also discusses how to overcome memory loss as a result of either injury or disease. According to Dr. Stoler, there are three methods of treatment in total: “conventional, complementary and alternative. This classification is based on insurance reimbursement. Almost 98% of conventional methods are covered by insurance, while at least 50% are covered by complementary and 0% for alternative approaches.”

Fortunately for individuals suffering from memory loss, therapy is classified under conventional methods, meaning that for the most part it can be covered under insurance. Two of the most successful therapies used to treat memory loss are Cognitive Therapy (CT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Cognitive Therapy

While both are covered by most insurances, these treatment methods are actually quite different. Cognitive Therapy is conducted by a Speech and Language Pathologist and assesses the treatment of cognitive skills. These include memory and attention and executive function, which refers to an individual’s ability to plan, sequence, organize, problem-solve, decision-make, initiate, and be self-aware. Cognitive Therapy trains patients to develop compensatory strategies for their lapses in memory or whatever cognitive decline they might have experience. In other words, developing techniques to help circumnavigate around daily challenges. For example, if one frequently forgets daily tasks, they might set reminders around their house to jog their memory. Dr. Stoler calls this “Making strategic adjustments to your environment,” which “enables you to be more efficient and focused in daily function.” In doing this, Cognitive Therapy aims to educate patients about their condition and provide successful coping methods to allow them to be able to act independently and be self-confident.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The other form of therapeutic treatment is one we’ve previously discussed: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. Conducted by a licensed mental health professional like a psychologist or social worker, CBT encourages the patient to take an active role in determining their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Dr. Stoler summarizes the role of this therapy by explaining that it “helps people change how they think, feel, or act in order to improve their mood, reduce stress, or achieve other important health and life goals. Some goals may be specific, such as reducing worrying or procrastination, whereas others can be more general, such as figuring out why one’s life seems to lack meaning, passion or direction, and figuring out what to do about it.”

CBT commonly follows three primary trains of thought. The first of which is that how you think, your cognition, can and does change your behavior. This illustrates the relationship between thought and action which are seen as working together rather than being separate, independent entities. The second realization is that how you think can be modified and altered. No pattern of thought is immutable and fixed. As our brains acquire new information they adapt accordingly and our beliefs and behaviors change according to how our minds develop. Finally, CBT suggests that you can achieve your desired behavior by changing the way you think. In other words, intentional changes in thought pattern from negative to positive can help us become better versions of ourselves and can help us achieve the changes in our behavior that we aspire to make.

Treating Memory Loss with CT and CBT

Both CT and CBT when applied towards memory loss, either from trauma or from illness, can help individuals afflicted learn how to cope with their conditions as well as how to overcome any challenges they might face along the way. Although labelled “conventional”, these methods of treatment can be highly effective and successful means of dealing with memory loss and certain forms of cognitive decline.

To schedule an appointment with a Boca Raton Therapist, please contact our office directly.
individual therapy at boca raton

What To Do When Your Sibling Suffers From Addiction

Living with your sibling when he or she suffering from addiction can be a very stressful situation for all of the people who are living in your house, particularly for you if you are a younger person.  Growing up is difficult.  Adding in the element of an addicted sibling can make it that much more so.  You home life can feel unstable.  It can feel like you are less important or like you are always coming in second.  Your sibling could be violent toward you or have other problems beyond the addiction that are effecting your home life as well.  But there is hope for you.  There are some ways that you and your family can help to offset the negativity and the difficulty that you are experiencing and pave the way for a happier and healthier future for all of you.

#1  Get Educated

You are likely to feel anger and resentment toward your sibling.  This is a very normal feeling.  You may think that you do not care enough about his or her problem to learn about it and really understand it.  But it is really only in educating yourself that you will be able to understand what is really happening in your home.  Taking the time to read about his or her condition or to talk to some people who know more than you do about the subject can really help you to let go of your anger and your fear and start to see the bigger picture.

#2 Learn About Your Own Addiction Risks

It is possible that addiction has a hereditary element.  It may be able to be passed down through families.  Science has not been able to tell us just why and how this is yet, but children of addicts are more likely to be addicts themselves.  There is no real way to tell if you have the potential to suffer from addiction, but, if there are addicts in your family, then you are at a higher risk.  With most hereditary conditions, there is no choosing if you get it or if you do not.  With addiction, you can make the choice not to experiment with drugs or alcohol which means that you will not suffer from addiction.  That choice is yours to make.

#3 It’s Not Your Fault – Take Care of YOU

Dealing with a sibling who has an addiction problem and the potential of addiction running in your family can be time consuming and mentally taxing.  One of the best things that you can do is make time for the things that you want and need to do in order to be able to be happy and have the future that you want.  If it starts to seem like you are spending all of your time dealing with the addiction of your sibling, you may need to take a step back and remember that taking care of yourself is important too.

#4  Learn To Set Firm Boundaries

It is not unusual for siblings to trust each other and take each other into their confidences.  But some secrets are dangerous.  If you feel like you need to share something about your sibling with an adult, do it.  You will need to push aside any worry that your sibling will get in trouble because getting him or her the help that is needed is more important.  Other boundaries that may need to be set involve money and possessions.  If your sibling has an addiction problem, he or she may ask you for money or for anything valuable that you have.  Regardless of what he or she may tell you, this money or these valuables will likely be used to purchase more drugs or alcohol.  Rather than giving him or her the money and making it easy for him or her to get drugs, let your sibling know that you are not interested in fueling the addiction.  Then you should talk to an adult who you trust.

There are many different adults who you can talk to you when you are feeling lonely or neglected.  If your parents are not available, you could talk to a teacher or a school counselor.  You could talk to a pastor or another religious leader who you trust.  You could talk to a scout leader, a police officer, or the trusted parent of a friend.  You are not alone in this.  There are many people who can help make your life a priority.

Helping Your Teen Deal with a Mental Illness Diagnosis

Diagnosing a teenager with a mental illness is a very big project.  By the time a diagnosis is reached, the teen and his or her family have likely been through meetings with teachers and school psychologists, family doctors, specialists, and outside therapists.  There have likely been insurance company calls, notes from teachers, and possibly even disciplinary actions from school because of behavior issues resulting from the unchecked illness.  As a parent, all of these things can be difficult to handle, but manageable.  And once there is a diagnosis, some of the stress of not knowing can back off a bit as a treatment plan falls into place.  But for the teen, getting that diagnosis might very well be the hardest part.

Remember What Being a Teenager Entails

For a teenager, the primary task that he or she is faced with is the creation of an identity.  The teen years are when most people develop a sense of self and start turning into the people they are fundamentally going to be.  That is not to say that people cannot changes as they age.  There is much evidence to support that people do change as they get older and are exposed to different situations, but the teen years form a basis for the things that are yet to come or overcome.  Identity creation is a crucial step in the development of a personality and helps pave the way to adulthood.

While teenagers are trying to create an individual identity, they are also trying to find ways to fit in.  This is why things like trendy hairstyles, clothes, and piercings are so important to teens.  They are both trying to fit in and trying to develop a personal style.  Teenagers rely heavily on their peers to help them co-create and delineate their growing and changing identities.  They are who they are in relationship to other teenagers.  For most teenagers, anything too far outside of the acceptable spectrum of different-ness creates a barrier between the teen and his or her peers.  Mental illness, at least in the mind of the teenager, will set him or her so far apart from his or her peers that fitting in will no longer be an option.

Most commonly with teenagers, mental illness is uncool.  It can make a teenagers feel like an outlier with no peers at all.  It could be compared to the stereotypes of the hopelessly uncool teenager who does not have any friends or the highly intelligent teenager who is too smart to have friends.  In either situation, these are outliers, and mental illness can make a teenager start imagining him or herself in that light.  A mental illness diagnosis can be like a slap in the face for a teenager’s fragile self-esteem.  He or she has just had his or her worst fears confirmed.  “There is something wrong with me.”  And while mental illness does not imply that a person is in any way damaged, there is likely to be no explaining that to the delicate sensibilities of the fragile teenage psyche.

So what is a parent or guardian to do to help a teenager with such a difficult diagnosis?

Parents should continue to do what parents do – be a parent.  Keep to the limits and boundaries that have been set up in the past.  Enforce rules and consequences when rules are broken.  Respond to behavior.  Make an effort to love the person but deal with the behavior.  It is going to be difficult and messy.  Things are going to be hard for a while.  But the teenager will eventually grow and learn how to manage his or her own illness.  The job of the parent is to build a good foundation of support and information so that when the teenager is ready to go out into the world he or she is equipped with everything to be able to live a long and healthy life.

Five Ways to Build a Strong Relationship With Your Teen

Raising an adolescent is tough.  Some say that with the current technology challenges and the current media models, raising an adolescent now is tougher than it has ever been.  When it comes to dealing with some of the big issues like drug and alcohol use, it is really easy to get stuck in the trap of mistrust and negativity on both sides.  Mistrust can quickly become a habit rather than a fleeting occurrence, and it will quickly erode your relationship with your teen.  There are a number of ways that you can improve your parenting and improve your relationship with your adolescent so that you can start talking about the big issues as he or she continues to grow.

1. Communicate

When you ask questions about what your adolescent is involved in, he or she may think that you are prying because that would be the typical adolescent response.  But if you make it clear that you are asking because you care about the things that he or she is involved in and you are actually interested in what he or she has to say, your point will eventually get across.  They to get involved with some of his or her activities.  Be available for things like fundraising, chaperoning, or simply attending events hosted by your adolescent’s group.  Be supportive of art classes or music lessons or performance art pieces.  And talk about these things a lot.

2. Listen and Respond without Judgment

There are very few things that will make a teenager stop talking faster than judgment and advice when it was not requested.  It is okay for your teen to make mistakes.  Adolescences is the best time for learning and making mistakes.  Making judgments about the mistakes that have already been made is not going to be useful.  When your teen asks you for help, give your honest advice about what can be done now, not what could have been done before.  Listen to him or her talk about discuss what could be done next time if nothing can be done this time. Listening is key to a healthy relationship with your teen.

3. Reflect the Behavior You Expect

It is really easy to give back the kind of behavior that your teen gives to you.  Teenagers often respond to their parents with short responses and curt answers.  You should be polite even when you are dealing with bad behavior.  You should be respectful of your teen’s feeling. He or she may be dealing with some issues that you do not know about.  Or he or she may just be annoyed with you because you are a parent and he or she is a child.  Whatever the cause, there is no reason for you to engage in adolescent behavior.  If there is a behavior problem, treat him or her like a troublesome employee.  Lay out your expectations.  Be very clear about what you expect to see.  Give your child a timeline for the consequences for continuing the behavior.

4. Discipline 

Your teen needs to know that you mean business.  If he or she is exhibiting a behavior that you have already talked about, follow through with your expressed discipline plan.  Your teen will get the hint that you are not joking.  You are right to correct behavior that you think it in appropriate, but always remember to criticize the behavior and not the teen.  Do not tell him or her that he or she is stupid.  Instead say that the behavior he or she exhibited was not smart.  Mention that in the future you expect better because your teen is better.  If you say something that you do not mean in the middle of an argument, apologize for it and correct your mistake.

5. Make Spending Time Together a Routine

When your child was little, he or she was around you all the time.  But now that he or she is older, often more time is spent separately than together.  So you are going to have to make some time specifically for spending together.  Plan a fun weekly outing or a dinner together.  Make cooking something that you can do together.  Even a regular 20 minute car trip for just the two of you can be enough.

Sibling Fights Could Indicate a Need for Family Therapy

If your children are fighting frequently, family therapy may be able to help. Sibling aggression and bullying are usually the result of an unhealthy family dynamic. That’s why the whole family needs to seek help. Focusing on just the victim or just the aggressor will not ultimately solve your family’s bullying problem. It’s possible that your family as a whole may benefit from family therapy as a group, or on an individual level.

It’s certainly normal for siblings to fight. If you grew up with siblings, you can probably look back on your childhood and remember some of the awful fights you had with your brothers and sisters growing up. But fighting between siblings can do lasting damage to your children’s mental health. A study published last year in the journal Pediatrics linked sibling fights to increased levels of depression, anxiety and anger among those children who were the victims of sibling aggression.

Sibling Aggression Linked to Mental Illness

The study, which was done by the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, interviewed more than 3,500 children and adolescents over the phone, using numbers selected at random. The interviewers asked questions about the participants’ mental health problems as well as the specific kinds of sibling aggression they’d experienced in the past year. The three types of aggression covered by the questionnaire included physical aggression, properly damage and psychological aggression, like verbal abuse.

About one-third of the children and adolescents surveyed said that they had been on the receiving end of sibling aggression, violence or bullying in the past year. Those who had been the victims of sibling aggression reported higher levels of depression, anxiety and anger than those who had not. The more often a child becomes the target of sibling aggression, the more likely he or she can benefit from family therapy.

This is not the first study to examine sibling aggression and violence. Another study determined that sibling aggression is common. At least half of children under the age of ten experience aggression at the hands of their siblings. Among children aged 3 to 17, 80 percent reported experiencing violence at the hands of a brother or sister during the year of the study period.

Could Your Children Benefit from Family Therapy?

It’s unrealistic to expect that your children will never fight, just as it’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll never have a fight with a spouse or a disagreement with a relative. Siblings fight.

But you shouldn’t just let your children “fight it out” – use sibling fights as an opportunity to teach your children to resolve their differences constructively. If aggression and violence between your children becomes a common occurrence, or if bullying is occurring, our family therapy center can help correct the dysfunctional dynamics in your family.

Is It Normal Sibling Aggression, or Bullying?

How can you tell if the fights your children have are normal sibling aggression, or bullying? Normal sibling aggression flows both ways. If your son pulls your daughter’s hair and she retaliates by kicking him in the knee, that’s normal sibling aggression. When each of your children seems equally capable of picking a fight with the others, the aggression between them cannot be labeled as bullying – although even normal sibling aggression can lead to an increased risk of mental health problems in children.

Bullying, on the other hand, takes on a pattern. When one of your children is consistently the aggressor and one of your children is consistently the victim, that’s a sign of bullying. A child who is a bully wields power over the child being bullied. The bullied child will not fight back. The aggression flows only one way.

When this happens, it’s definitely time to seek the help of our Florida family therapy center. Bullying by a sibling can cause lasting and severe psychological and emotional damage. Family therapy can help correct the family dynamic that is encouraging one or more of your children to bully. One-on-one therapy may also be helpful for individual members of your family.

Fighting between siblings may not be as harmless as it was once thought. If your kids are fighting a lot, our family therapy specialists can help.

Call us today at 1-800-378-9354 to set up an appointment.

What Family Counselors Do for Their Patients?

Have you ever felt like your family could use some help? If so, have you ever considered what family counselors do for their patients? Family therapy is very often sought as way to address and fix existing issues in a family. However, it is sometimes unclear what family counselors do for their patients (the family) in order to achieve these goals. Hopefully, we can clear up any questions you might have about what family counselors do for their patients.

What family counselors do for their patients is that in a variety of settings, they bring to the table a wealth of education and experience to help their patients through difficulty. Their comprehensive training immediately lets their patients know that they have managed a wide range of family problems as well as a wide range of family types. So, upfront, they bring hope to the families they work with that the situation can improve.

The other ways family counselors serve their patients is through the assessment and treatment of the family’s presenting problems. What family counselors do for their patients is to work with families on the existing issues of which families are aware and uncover the causes and contributing unhealthy patterns that keep those issues present. This gives families a comprehensive awareness of how their family functions.

What family counselors do for their patients is that they also serve as teachers to their individual patients and families, equipping them with new ways of coping through effective communication and conflict resolution skills. They create a safe environment in which to practice and master these skills by either role-playing common interactions or addressing present problems live in session.

Most importantly, what family counselors do for their patients is that they serve as a trusted and unbiased mediator on which a family can rely during the times they are most vulnerable. Family counselors put your family’s best interest first and work with you as a partner to create and achieve the goals that will make the most positive impact on your family.

What are Some Benefits of Family Therapy?

The benefits of Family Therapy are that it is an approach to therapy in which a family is guided to work together to solve a given problem within the family unit.   Family therapists view the family as a distinctive social system that functions through its own unique structure and patterns of communication.  When the family experiences changes within one family member, it not only affects the entire family as a whole, but also each individual member.  The benefits of Family Therapy are that it can generate significant positive changes for families as well as individuals and can provide useful insight that leads to a more comprehensive understanding of one another.

The benefits of Family Therapy are that it can help families to resolve specific conflicts, prepare for major life changes, or address how the family plays a role in each individual member’s life.  Some of the benefits of Family Therapy include the promotion of understanding of the wants, needs, and personalities of each individual.  Oftentimes, the benefits of Family Therapy are in helping to identify strengths or weaknesses within the family system that the family can build upon or improve, respectively.  Another of the benefits of Family Therapy are that Families faced with specific challenges can work together to identify contributing factors, set goals and develop strategies to overcome their struggles.  It can also be used in conjunction with a family member’s work in individual therapy in order to strengthen their system of support.

The general goals that provide the greatest benefits of Family Therapy are the improvement of communication skills, patterns of interaction and conflict resolution skills within the family and to create a more unified and supportive team.  Through these goals, families can not only overcome current challenges or disruptions, but they can also be better prepared to handle future setbacks.

The benefits of Family Therapy can be felt in just about any family.  It can address a wide range of issues from poor communication skills to devastating challenges.  If you feel that family therapy could benefit your family, a family therapist at Proliance Center would be happy to answer any of your questions.  

What Should I Expect to Share in Family Therapy?

Family therapy is a type of counseling that helps family members improve communication, strengthen relationships, and resolve conflicts.  It can often serve as a powerful tool for both individuals and families to improve their lives and bonds between them.  For many people, family therapy can be intimidating and thought of as invasive at first, especially if they have no prior experience in therapy.  Therefore, it is important for those individuals considering family therapy as a solution to understand how they can best contribute to the process.  At Proliance Center in Boca Raton, we place a great deal of value on the process of family therapy and see it as a means to an improved family life.  Our goal is always for the family to have the most successful outcome possible.  In order to do this, we stress some of the same concepts that we teach through counseling.

The most important aspect of family therapy to ensure success is an open line of communication with your family therapist.  During an initial family therapy session, or even when scheduling your first appointment, be open and descriptive about what it is you are seeking.  A good family therapist can best treat you when they have a solid understanding of the problem.  Much of this is often discovered in the initial family therapy session.  Work with your family therapist to paint a clear and honest picture of the presenting concerns.  Also, allow each individual to share their own unique experiences as a member of the family.  With each account, your family’s story will become more detailed and accurate to your family therapist.
Another concern of those seeking family therapy is whether or not to share openly in sessions.  Honesty is a key component of the family therapy therapeutic process and although it can seem uncomfortable at first to share your thoughts and feelings with a family therapist who you have known for only a short period of time, it is the best way for the therapist to assess and address the issues at hand.  If at any time you feel uncomfortable sharing information in the family therapy setting, you can communicate this discomfort with your family therapist, who will guide you and help you decide how to address the issue.

Whatever your concerns with family therapy may be, an open line of communication with your family therapist is the most important factor to ensure you and your family’s success in treatment.  Come prepared, share openly, ask questions, and voice concerns as needed.  Not only does this give your family therapist the best and most informed picture of your needs, but it strengthens the relationship with your therapist to reach the best possible outcome.

How to Find the Best Family Therapist for Your Family

The decision to seek family counseling for you and your family is one that requires a great deal of consideration.  You want the experience to be positive and successful and therefore, want a family therapist that will best address your family’s needs and help you improve the communication and cohesion within your family.  At Proliance Center in Boca Raton, we believe that you should choose a family therapist once you have developed a thorough understanding of that therapist’s education, experience, reputation, and approach family therapy.  You must also feel as if you have a personal connection with this professional after an initial consultation, either by phone or in person.

Education and experience are the foundation of a family therapist’s expertise.  Do your homework when it comes to choosing a family therapist.  Many therapists today make this type of information available on their practice websites, online therapy directories or print advertising.  Your therapist should have a minimum of a Masters degree in the field of mental health and significant experience working with families.  Don’t be afraid to ask a clinician about their education and experience by phone or email before scheduling your first appointment.

Reputation is also an important factor in choosing a family therapist.  Look for recommendations from trusted friends and family members.  Ask local professionals such as physicians, religious institutions, school counselors and other trusted sources.  The internet can also be an excellent resource to gather information from the family therapist’s website and online review and recommendation sites.

A family therapist’s approach to family therapy is unique to each professional.  You can often read about their treatment approaches and preferred models of therapy on their websites but you can also call and ask.  A trusted and experienced family therapist will be able to share with you their personal views about family therapy and their preferred models of treatment and educate about these approaches.  Listen to the information they provide and ask questions as needed.

Finally, your relationship with your family therapist is as important as all of the factors listed above combined.  Make sure you feel comfortable with them and are able to communicate your feelings and concerns freely.  Do your best to assess this relationship in an initial phone consultation or face-to-face meeting.  At Proliance Center, the best and most successful families we treat are those that are open with their family therapists and are comfortable with the process.  Adjustments can always be made to make your experience the best possible.

A male and female interlocking hands in what appears to be a strong, happy relationship.

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