Many people believe in the success of couples therapy. This form of counseling has become popular in different countries all over the world. Married couples are led to believe that the only way to solve the issues in their relationships is to find an excellent therapist. While this may be true, there is no guarantee that it will offer a hundred percent success. As such, it is logical to conclude that it could also fail at some point.…
We are free to choose the kind of person we want to share our lives with. Admittedly we intend to love someone based on our desired preference. Though there are religions and traditions that practice match-making, dynastic urgency, or social convention, most of us are not forced into a relationship for these reasons. However, in reality, our choice of lover is a lot less free than we can imagine. The idea of who we want to care for and love usually comes from a part that we never entirely look into – our childhood.
There is a strong psychological history that influences us to fall in love with certain types of people. We think of it as a preference-based emotional attachment. It goes along the grooves formed in our childhood, focusing only on perfection and romanticism. That explains why we often look for individuals who are too good to be true in many ways. There is an emotional entrapment because we only see love as a form of generosity, kindness, and tenderness. But when we think about it, these distinguished preferences come from our first-hand experience with our parents. Therefore, our desire for love from someone is based on how our parents treat us when we’re kids.
How We Choose Our Partner?
Understandably, we often look away from those people who do not fit our desired preferences. The prospected candidates do not satisfy our yearning for complexity that we want to associate with love and relationship. Thus, we usually describe these individuals as “boring,” “unattractive,” and “not our type” However, there is a truth we meant by that. Our ideology is that we see these people who we turn down will unlikely make us feel loved. It will less likely create the same impact we often see with our parents’ relationship when we were kids.
Nevertheless, there’s a realization that we need to consider as well. The perfection in our partner that we aim so much can also come from the opposite reflection of our parents. Meaning, when we often witness marital complications when we were kids, we automatically want to destroy the continuation of that unfortunate scenario. Love gets tangled with certain painful experiences. There’s the feeling of not being good enough. It goes with betrayal, jealousy, and abuse. There’s a sense that one cannot be fully vulnerable in front of the other. We often witness this kind of relationship with our parents. So as we grow older, we try our best to avoid experiencing the same.
But some instances choosing a partner is merely a challenge we intend to give ourselves. We hang on to those complicated individuals because they provide the thrilling experience of pain, anxiety, agony, and rage at the same time. We always choose them to be in our lives because these complicated people give us satisfaction whenever we feel out of the ordinary.
Why Stick With The Difficult Partner?
It often becomes common to receive advice from others to leave our complicated partners to settle with someone more wholesome. But this can be easier said than done. Our ability to endure pain is what makes us more drawn to the idea of love. We cannot magically redirect our feelings and get easily attracted to someone we think is the opposite of our current partner. But we do not also let go of the possibility of getting a room for change. That explains why instead of looking for someone new, we put too much effort into aiming for our partner’s transformation.
However, there is always a solution in handling situations better. That is why instead of initiating and trying very hard to alter our partners, we would choose to make room for small considerations. From there, we make simple adjustments to our responses and behaviors to occasionally handle the difficulty of our partners.
We might find it hard to change our templates for attraction probably. But we can always re-engineer our instincts and learn to react based on how our partners communicate and interact with us. We need to think through the constructive and mature manner of handling the relationship like a rational adult. We should not regard the whole commitment as a replica of our parents’ relationship that we often see as a child. We need to become open-minded with the enormous opportunity to get away from our childlike preferences and focus on adult patterns.
The challenge of handling someone difficult should not go with “I have to fix you,” “I deserve this,” and “You need to change.” It should be handled with “I don’t have to feel bad,” “It’s no one’s fault,” and “You are okay the way you are.” We have to remember that the answer is not always to end the relationship, regardless of having a complicated partner. Instead, there is a need to strive to deal with the compelling challenges to grow up mentally and emotionally fully.
All marriages struggle with their relationship, and there is no exemption to that. Despite each couple’s ability to understand the situation and compromise, there will still be times when both won’t sustain their individual needs. Regardless of whether the marital issue is solvable or should lead to divorce, it is guaranteed that most married couples have similar concerns. Some factors can ruin their marital commitment, and sometimes they go unnoticeable. To know what those are, below is the list.
Finances – Married couples often fight about money. Regardless of their ability to avoid misinterpreting each other, financial issues will surely become part of their misunderstandings one way or another. Financial matters cater to broad needs, whether personal, child care, home responsibilities, social life, and so on. Often, couples are uncomfortable discussing financial matters because usually, only one of them is earning money. However, for instance, that both can provide for the family, issues can still escalate as to how much they are allowed to spend and hold some cash.
Labor Division – Married couples usually have issues with labor division, especially related to household chores. For the likes of the husband, usually, they do not intend to commit to doing a lot in the house since they are the ones providing for the family. Therefore, it would be safe to say that the wife should be responsible for taking care of the needs of the children and the house. However, the imbalance creates a problem as most wives feel that marriage is a little bit unfair. Because not only do the wives handle everything in the house, they are also responsible for remembering and taking care of small things, making them busy and unavailable for rest.
Parenting Differences – Parenting is an entirely common marital issue that most couples do not want to discuss. Perhaps they know that the conversation might not end well regarding who has the more right to ruling the kids. Usually, tension regarding how often or who the children should socialize with, what the kids should achieve, and how they should behave are the things that couples struggle to deal with. The parenting differences can cause a rift in the couple because often, the other becomes in favor while the other parent disapproves.
Boredom – Not all relationship succeeds just by staying the same. Whether they like it or not, the marital relationship will soon come to a point where both individuals will feel bored with each other. They will become less interested in what they once enjoyed and somehow feel that their love for each other is wearing off. At times, marriage can be salvageable. There are things that married couples can do to keep the relationship back on track. They can experiment in doing exciting things together. Sadly, most of the time, it gets to a point where one or both couple calls it quits.
Abuse – No marriage goes on for years without abuse. There are always some instances that a husband or a wife abuses their partner for whatever reason. Abuse is not just about physical aspects. It also caters to the mental and emotional torture one experiences inside the marital relationship. Note that each married coupes’ are different. So if some may consider allowance for mistakes, others may choose to leave the relationship without a blink of an eye. Every decision concerning abuse depends on the couple’s mental and emotional tolerance and resilience.
Intimacy – Yes, sex is a factor that mostly affects married couples. It is a known fact that sexual intimacy is the turning point of the marital relationship. Couples who are frequently having sex may find themselves more connected and passionate with each other. But note that it does not mean that those who are not intimate are unusual. Couples may have a different representation of intimacy. However, in common situations, married couples struggle with their sexual compatibility or incompatibility. Sadly, that explains why some of them end up dissatisfied.
Jealousy – Marriage won’t be complete without jealousy. As much as couples want to deny it, there is always a portion in their relationship that one or both of them feel insecure. Jealousy in marriage is crucial as it can cause turmoil in the emotional aspects of both individuals. It is stressful because it comes with doubts, fear, and anxiety, leading to a whole new level of mental health problems. Jealousy in marriage can also spur conflict due to unrealistic expectations.
Keeping Scores – It is the root of all misunderstandings in marital relationships. Keeping score is a potential breaker of a relationship as couples may find themselves too focused on their partner’s wrongdoings. It hinders them from appreciating the beauty of being together as they build resentment towards one another. Keeping score in marriage is a habit that not all married couples can see. Unfortunately, it is also not something that husband and wife can easily avoid.
A few minutes after work, your husband arrives home, heads to the cupboard, and takes his usual bottle of wine. He sits in front of the television and drinks on his own in silence. You haven’t been talking for weeks now. Several misunderstandings regarding finances or night outs with fellow workers, but not really serious. Sex life? You don’t remember having that for some time now!
Your relationship is not doing great, and both of you know it. You really want to end the silence and fix things, but you don’t know how. Perhaps it’s time that you consider marriage counseling.
Marriage counseling may be your solution to rebuilding the bond with your spouse. It can also help you decide whether or not being together is still good for you. Either way, this type of counseling can certainly help partners understand each other better and make wise decisions.
It is often known as couples counselor or therapy, and it assists partners – married or not – in resolving disagreements and enhance their relationship. Marriage counseling offers couples the strategies and mechanisms that improve communication and problem solving, meet halfway, and even disagree more healthily and positively.
Marriage counseling is commonly provided by qualified professionals known as marriage or family counselors. These professionals offer the same services as other counselors or therapists, although with a specialized focus, which is the relationship between couples.
Marriage counseling is typically brief. It might take you just a few sessions to help you overcome your difficulties, or you may prefer to continue for months, especially if your bond has tremendously been damaged. As with individual counseling, you usually visit a marriage counselor once weekly.
Who Benefits From It?
Most relationships – especially marriages – are not perfect at all. Each individual shares his own opinions, values, personal background, and ideas into the relationship without knowing if they match your spouse’s. The differences you both have do not essentially imply that your relationship is made to fail. In fact, your differences can complement each other – opposites attract. Your differences can also help couples recognize, respect, and embrace opposing opinions and backgrounds.
Relationships can be put to the test. Disparities or activities that you previously found enjoyable may no longer be that interesting after you’ve spent some time together. Occasionally, certain concerns like lack of sex drive or infidelity cause conflicts in the relationship. Eventually, communication and affection collapse.
Whatever the reason is, negativity in a relationship can develop into unnecessary worry, stress, fear, strain, and other issues. You could wait and cross your fingers that your problems will disappear on their own. However, left neglected, an unhealthy bond may progress and ultimately cause psychological or physical conditions, like depression. A messy relationship can also cause complications in the workplace and impact other members of the family – even close friends and significant others.
Below is a list of the common concerns and problems that marriage counseling can assist you and your spouse deal with.
- Financial problem
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Cultural differences
- Communication problems
- Sexual difficulties
- Conflicts about raising children
- Anger and other extreme tempers
- Mental and physical conditions
You don’t necessarily have to have a difficult relationship to see a counselor’s help. Marriage counseling can guide couples who desire to build or fortify their bonds and get a better appreciation and respect for one another. Marriage counseling also helps spouses who are planning to get married. Couples can seek advice to reach an understanding and fix disparities before the marriage.
How It Works
Marriage counseling usually brings spouses and couples together for joint counseling sessions. Counselors help them identify and acknowledge the sources of their disagreements and strive to fix them. You and your spouse scrutinize both the bad and good aspects of your relationship.
Marriage counseling drives you to strengthen your relationship through new abilities and strategies. These abilities include problem-solving, open communication, and rational discussion of conflicts. In some situations, like substance abuse or a mental health disorder, your marriage counselor could work with other healthcare professionals to give a thorough treatment plan.
Talking about your concerns and issues with a marriage counselor may be hard at first. The sessions could begin with long quiet gaps, and both you and your spouse could have several bouts of disagreements. But this is fine. Your counselor, in this case, will act as a pacifier or mediator and help you deal with your feelings. He must be neutral and not take sides.
After a few weeks, you may realize that your relationship with your spouse has gradually improved. On the contrary, you may conclude that your differences are no longer reconcilable, and the best thing to do is to put an end to your relationship.
Finally, if your spouse is hesitant to join you in marriage counseling, you can simply go independently. It may be challenging at first, especially since you’ll be the one learning new things for your relationship. But ultimately, you can always benefit from learning more about your behavior and responses in your relationship.
I recall vividly the first few sessions I had with my counselor when I was telling her that my marriage was failing, and I think it’s really over between my partner and me. I sought counseling on my own because I didn’t even have the courage or the eagerness to invite my partner to come with me. My counselor then allowed me to open up to her and express my sadness, frustration, and disappointment. There was very little hope left in me, and Alba, my counselor, was merely there to be a sounding board to listen to the whole gamut of feelings and issues that I had.
After a few months of counseling, I slowly instilled hope in myself, and I decided to ask my partner if he was willing to try and fix our marriage. Surprisingly, he wanted to. That was the beginning of the end of our constant blaming and arguing. We eventually came to look forward to our visits with Alba, as everything we learned about forgiving, understanding, and accepting, we learned from counseling.
One crucial thing that I want to share with you is that my partner and I – just like you and your partner – have numerous differences. Perhaps like us, you too will come to learn how to recognize and embrace each other’s differences.
Below are some things that I learned about my partner:
- His Way Of Communicating. We have our unique ways of connecting with others, both close to us and those with whom we are just establishing relationships. We communicate with each other, and how we deal with our partners and their desires is vital in keeping a positive and healthy marriage.
- His Way Of Handling Conflict. As with communication style, we have various ways of handling conflict, but often we don’t exert enough effort and time to understand how our partners deal with conflict. In couples counseling, the third party (the counselor) observes and determines methods to handle conflict and meet each other halfway to avoid misunderstanding.
- He Is Not Perfect. You might be wondering, “It’s obvious why they need to see a counselor.” However, we frequently have high standards for our partners that we do not even extend them with the patience and kindness that they have earned. In our sessions, I realized that my partner is not perfect, but so am I. But despite the imperfection, we must only find ways to fill each other’s flaws so that the marriage is ‘perfectly’ established.
- Differences Are Not Insufficiencies. I sometimes hear people say that they are the exact opposite of their partner. Realistically, we are all uniquely and wonderfully made. My partner and I have distinct personalities, beliefs, and values, as we were raised from different backgrounds. We committed to work through our various personalities and learned strategies to help us avoid conflict.
- He Has His Own Love Language. My partner knows that he easily sways me when he buys me plants to add to my garden, and a short back massage can change my most unpleasant mood. A healthy serving of my baked chicken with gravy, on the other hand, pacifies him. Indeed, my partner and I have a different love language, and I am thankful that we learned that through counseling.
- We Don’t Connect In The Same Way. As a couple, we often struggle to look for ways to connect, which was a major factor that led to conflict. Through counseling, I learned that my partner would rather talk it out in person because he hates texting or chatting, but I don’t really mind if I talk with him on the phone for hours. It seems that I can’t get enough of him when he’s not home!
- He Has Other Priorities – And That’s Okay. Going to my parents’ house on weekends is a priority for me outside of my marriage. However, my partner makes it a point to go fishing twice a week, and I used to find it impractical and costly. I learned, though, that it was his way of relaxing and spending time for himself. It keeps his mental and physical well-being at bay.
- He Needs Me For Most Things. Before we went to counseling, I always thought my partner was too clingy and dependent on me. However, I didn’t think I was too selfish when I obliged him to keep me company when I went shopping because I didn’t want to drive – and he does it anyway. Counseling helped us realize that we had different needs from each other and whether they were relatively simple or complicated, they are needs that we both can provide as partners – because we loved and respected each other.
Couples counseling has played a tremendous role in saving my marriage and helping my partner and me establish a healthy and positive relationship. Are you having problems with your marriage? Try to consult a counselor in your area. He might be what you and your partner need.
Are you having problems with your significant other because of psychological conflict? This conflict may be a sign of cognitive dissonance. It is common in every relationship, but most people are not aware of it.
If you want to know more about cognitive dissonance and how you can manage it, read on.
The word “cognitive” relates to conscious intellectual activities like thinking, remembering, and reasoning. On the other hand, dissonance refers to the lack of agreement.
Social psychologist Leon Festinger first introduced the Cognitive Dissonance Theory (CDT) in 1957. It refers to the discomfort in maintaining consistency between two thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and values. We struggle once we find conflict within these multiple cognitions.
So, what is the connection of cognitive dissonance to relationships?
Your current significant other may not be your ideal partner, but you accept them for who they are and stay in the relationship. Another example is when your partner does things you’re not fond of, but you try to compromise with them.
When these things happen, you have a conflict between your cognition and your partner’s. That is cognitive dissonance.
Moreover, cognitive dissonance may lead to infidelity. There may be a discrepancy in a person’s self-concept, leading them to cheat even if they believe they are loyal and faithful. When this happens, they experience psychological discomfort, affecting their thoughts and feelings.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy where you talk to your therapist regarding your thoughts, feelings, and conflicts. This therapy aids in resolving disagreements in relationships, among many issues. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help if you struggle with opening up about your feelings.
You should always consult an expert—your mental health provider, for advice. They can recommend any treatment, like therapies, they deem helpful for you.
Below are some frequently asked questions about cognitive dissonance.
What is cognitive dissonance therapy?
If the consequences of cognitive dissonance have become too severe, you can seek the help of a therapist. You might discover that specific thoughts are influencing your behavior for the worse.
Your therapist will work with you to untangle the web of beliefs and ideas you may have about a situation. Once you recognize the disparity between your thoughts and behavior, it becomes easier to resolve it.
Why is cognitive dissonance bad?
Cognitive dissonance is not always harmful. But if your behavior is not aligned with your core values, you may experience intense feelings. It may include feelings of shame, guilt, and stress. These emotions can negatively affect your self-esteem and interpersonal relationships.
As a result, you might engage in maladaptive behaviors to reconcile the contradictions.
Is cognitive dissonance a disorder?
No, but it can cause emotional distress and harmful behaviors. People may deliberately avoid information that does not conform to their beliefs. They may also refuse a healthy debate to resolve the conflict. In some cases, cognitive dissonance can strain relationships and prevent self-growth.
What is cognitive dissonance in relationships?
It refers to the dissonance that arises when your partner’s beliefs or behaviors may not align with your own. Your partner may have different views on mundane things. But you need to be on the same boat when it comes to planning your future.
You may choose to have an in-depth conversation to resolve the cognitive dissonance or make compromises.
What are the 4 types of relationships?
The four types of interpersonal relationships are between families, friends, acquaintances, and romantic partners. Relationships are bonds between two or more people. It can be long-lasting or short-lived. The duration depends on the commitment of those involved to maintain the relationship.
What are some examples of cognitive dissonance?
A person may experience cognitive dissonance due to inherited beliefs about themselves and the world. One example is smokers and alcoholics justifying their harmful habits.
Another example is when a person is taught that being gay is a sin. They might experience cognitive dissonance when the person then identifies as a member of the said community. It can also come in the form of acquired biases or misconceptions about minority groups.
How do you break cognitive dissonance?
It might be impossible to eliminate cognitive dissonance. However, you can reduce the resulting mental tension by changing your behavior.
You can also alter your beliefs so that they are in accordance with your actions. It might be uncomfortable, but you may have to unlearn and relearn particular ideas that may not be relevant anymore.
How do you recognize cognitive dissonance?
Cognitive dissonance is when you feel conflicted over something but do not know how to move forward. It might be hard to recognize it at the onset, but you can take a step back to ask why you feel conflicted.
Pay close attention to the thoughts, feelings, and ideas you have about a situation. For severe cases of cognitive dissonance, it’s best to seek professional help.
How does cognitive dissonance lead to an attitude change?
To reduce cognitive dissonance, a person may:
- Change their existing beliefs,
- Acquire new information that supports their belief, or
- Reduce the importance of said beliefs.
A person seeking to sustain their smoking habit can refuse to believe that smoking is harmful. They may also seek out information that confirms their belief. They may even adopt a belief that the short-term benefits of smoking outweigh the long-term consequences.
How does cognitive dissonance affect workplace behavior?
It varies depending on their beliefs and behaviors. But then, cognitive dissonance can affect employee performance and work relationships. For instance, an employee may discover that the company has questionable practices that do not align with his values. To reduce the tension, they may justify unethical behavior.
At the same time, there is also a tendency to make excessive rationalizations. They may lose motivation to perform their job. It is also possible to experience heightened workplace stress that can affect their productivity.
Why does cognitive dissonance occur?
Cognitive dissonance occurs due to discrepancies between a person’s beliefs and actions or their beliefs and values. It’s not always possible to act in strict accordance with our beliefs all the time. Cognitive dissonance is a necessary component of a child’s learning process.
What is an example of dissonance?
Cognitive dissonance is when a person knows that smoking is harmful to their health but keeps on doing it anyway. Another example is when you keep making excuses to put off exercise even though you’re aware of its many health benefits.
How does cognitive dissonance operate in everyday life?
Cognitive dissonance is not always blatant. It usually comes in the form of everyday excuses we make in life. From missing an exercise day or justifying a “white lie,” we sometimes think or do things that contradict our values. The tension depends on how severe the contradiction is.
What is cognitive conflict?
Cognitive conflict is another term for cognitive dissonance. When a person …
It is funny how a relationship gets ruin for no reason. Yes, a relationship may fail even without the presence of a third party. That is because emotional and mental health issues can become a factor. Some might not agree with that, I know. But for those couples who are struggling with mental and emotional health issues, the reality is different.
Not all relationships can work, especially when one or both of them already decided that things aren’t under control. Some instances believe that the mere reason for a failed commitment is falling out of love. But I doubt that. No one easily falls out of love just because they think it’s trendy or entirely necessary. There is a strong reason behind that statement, and for quite a while, I realized it was all because of the mental and emotional damage present in the relationship.
You might not agree with me, but let me explain some things to you from these frequently asked questions. From there, it is your choice to look deep into these answers and try to use them for your own relationship evaluation.
How does mental illness affect relationships?
Mental health problems are an extremely painful and traumatic moment for all individuals as it creates a huge impact on emotional components. It impacts people’s ability to express empathy due to the persistent feelings of anxiety and isolation and causes codependency or even resentment. There is a struggle to know what individuals should do to cope with their stress while trying their best to handle other life pressure.
Anxiety and depression affect relationships in a very unnoticeable way. Sometimes, it can leave both parties unaware of their words, actions, and behaviors. Often, the mental health condition makes it impossible for both individuals to look beneath what is more important.
What is the relationship between stress and depression?
When stress is prolonged and promotes an overwhelming feeling, the risks for developing medical problems and mental health problems increase. Chronic stressful life situations are inevitable. Thus, the possibility of depression is right around the corner. However, the damages are not limited to that. Stress contributes to more health issues such as sleep problems, substance use problems, pain, bodily complaints, inability to focus and concentrate, etc.
What are the types of depression?
The common types of depression are Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), Psychotic Depression, Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression, and Situational Depression.
What diseases are linked to depression?
Some examples of diseases linked to depression are arthritis, kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, lupus, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis (MS). Even Hypothyroidism also leads to depressed feelings. That is due to the fears and anxiety that tend to build-up over time.
What is the number one cause of depression?
Research shows that depression does not just occur from simply having too little or too much of certain chemicals in the brain. Rather, there are many possible causes of the mental disorder including, genetic vulnerability, abuse, addiction, death or loss of a loved one, conflict, medications, stressful life events, dysfunctional emotions, and medical problems.
How does depression change your personality?
Though not all the time, depression can still change someone’s personality in an instant. Often individuals become irritable, frustrated, angry, and impulsive. And despite knowing the cause of the emotional and mental issues, both couples tend to ignore it because of their irrational thinking. In cases where couples attempt to quell the pain, some turn to cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, and other unhealthy habits that risk their health even further. They do not understand that mental health is associated with high risks of violence, other forms of self-harm, and suicide.
Why do females have a higher rate of depression than males?
Depression rates are higher in females than in males, especially after hitting puberty. That is because girls usually enter puberty before boys do. Thus, they’re more likely to develop earlier emotional and mental issues regarding desire, self-image, peer pressure, etc.
But despite that information, it does not mean men are less affected. While females may have higher rates of depression, males are often victims of self-harm and suicidal thoughts. That is because of gender roles where society perceived males as dominant creature that is somehow not allowed to feel or show weakness.
How do you deal with sadness in a relationship?
While everyone’s depression experience is unique, few things can help couples address the situation. The first and foremost step is to educate themselves about the danger of depression. Both need to separate facts from fiction. The couples should focus on taking care of one another and find support with each other’s presence. Both of them should not take their stress and anxiety personally, and they should not lash out at one another. They need to become a team to win over their mental health issues.
What is a toxic relationship?
The answer is simple. A toxic relationship is when couples don’t support each other. When the goal of one of them is to undermine the other, then that is considered a toxic relationship. Everything around these people is competition, compensation, favors, and extreme imbalance. Toxic relationships do not compromise, give, forgive and forget.
How do you know if your partner is mentally unstable?
It is vital to pay close attention to your partner when it comes to depressive symptoms that are affecting your relationship. One way to identify if your loved one is mentally unstable is when there is often aggression. When your partner often gets upset, he or she might be dealing with emotional and mental issues that are hard to express. When your partner loses interest or shows no empathy towards you, that is also a sign of unstable mental health. When your partner cannot admit mistakes, fears criticisms, stiff with others, dramatic or overacting, then those are warning signs too.
Be mindful that not because you think your partner is okay does not mean he or she is. It would be nice for to you talk with your loved ones about his thoughts and feelings. Allow your partner to express his emotional and mental struggle. Because sometimes, the only way you can get rid of depression is through being there for the one you love.
Family therapy is a helpful tool for strengthening bonds within your family. This treatment aims to improve communication, strengthen the family’s decision-making skills, and solve relationship problems.
Family therapy deals with family dynamics and relations. Although different from individual treatment, it can still work alongside.
For example, a patient going through therapy for their eating habits will need their family’s support. With the whole family attending the session, the therapist can address external factors affecting the patient’s behavior.
Therapists typically use the family systems therapy. With this, they treat the family as a single unit. Several approaches fall under this type of therapy.
The approaches include strategic family therapy, structural family therapy, and integrational family therapy. It is the role of the therapist to identify which of these approaches suit a specific family best.
Although family therapy is a common and beneficial practice, there are still misconceptions about it. Some may think therapy is only for broken or suffering families.
But in reality, families go through therapy for many reasons. Some seek mental health help to address trauma or grief. Meanwhile, others need assistance for children with ADHD or teenagers suffering from substance abuse. Still, some would seek help for eating disorders and other mental illnesses.
At the same time, family therapists can also help adults going through financial troubles. But then, some families also seek therapy to improve their family dynamics. Some may perceive these issues negatively, but these situations are all part of human nature.
Other pushing points may also include significant changes, like a child moving away for school or a blended family coming together.
Additionally, some people who know about family therapy may still have far too many unanswered questions. And the thing is, it may be challenging to gather up all answers in one reading.
Below are FAQs regarding family therapy to inform you and clear any misconceptions you may have about it. Here, you will also learn about what you can expect at a family therapy clinic, including session duration and costs.
You can also expect an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of this therapy to guide you.
What do family therapists do?
Family therapists help mend relationships within your household. By looking at each member’s individual role and power dynamics, family therapists can improve your family member’s mental health.
They can help treat depression, anxiety, and other psychological problems caused by or related to your family. Although they may conduct individual interviews or sessions, family therapists apply a family-centric approach to therapy.
How much does an MFT charge per hour?
A marital and family therapist usually charges around $100 per session. However, the cost of therapy ranges from $70 to $250 per hour. Thus, rates may vary depending on your MFT. Some family therapists accept insurance, so make sure your provider also covers costs for therapy.
Is an MFT a psychologist?
MFTs and clinical psychologists are both part of the core mental health professionals but are different in their ways. Before passing as MFTs, they must attain a master’s degree and receive at least two years of supervised clinical training.
On the other hand, clinical psychologists must accomplish a doctorate and train for at least a year. Aside from educational and training background, an MFT is specialized in treating mental disorders within the context of a relationship.
In comparison, clinical psychologists focus more on treating conditions with an individual-focused approach.
What typically happens in family therapy?
First, the MFT asks what problems are bothering your family and how each member views these situations. The MFT will then interview each member to determine the individual roles in the family. By learning about these respective roles, your family therapist will understand your familial relations.
Aside from helping you in your weaknesses, MFTs also find your family’s strengths so you can maintain such habits. Your therapist will then provide you with health treatment plans and serve as a mediator for conflict within the family.
Can therapists treat family members?
Family therapists treat family members by addressing the symptoms associated with mental conditions. At times, solving family crises can help improve the mental health conditions of family members.
However, there are instances when factors outside of the family cause mental health conditions. Thus, these family members with other mental health disorders can seek help from clinical psychologists instead.
What are the disadvantages of family therapy?
During family therapy, there is a tendency to have differing interpretations of a session. This disparity can sometimes lead to further conflicts, which may add difficulty to mending familial relationships.
In some situations, family therapy may teach younger children to bottle up feelings and thoughts instead of sharing them. However, with a proper approach, these disadvantages can be avoided altogether.
Like most treatment methods, family therapy has both advantages and disadvantages to your family dynamic. At the onset, family therapy brings to light all the complications at home to the point of creating tension.
What is the difference between family therapy and individual therapy?
Family therapy focuses on social factors such as communication and relationships in addressing your mental health problems. On the other hand, individual therapy emphasizes self-esteem, personality building, mindfulness, and different cognitive-behavioral approaches.
Another difference lies in the goals of each treatment. Both therapy approaches aim to improve the patients’ mental health, but family therapy also focuses on fixing your familial relationship.
Family therapy and individual therapy can improve the mental health even when they differ in the treatment approach.
How does family systems therapy work?
Family systems therapy views the family as a single emotional unit. This kind of treatment speaks about how each family member’s behavior is affected by its origins, functions, and relationship.
Family systems therapy thus determines how the family dynamic affects each person. By knowing how the family dynamic works, families can work together to control their situations better.
Should family members have the same therapist?
There are some benefits to having the same therapist, especially if family members need medical attention due to problems arising at home. However, it is not always the case.
In some situations, it can also be unhealthy for family members to have the same therapist. Having the same therapist can create some tension and increase the risks of confidentiality breaches.
Censoring parts of a story can also become useless if your other family member shares the same tale unfiltered.
How long do therapy sessions usually last?
Individual therapy sessions usually last 40-60 minutes, while group therapies may last up to 90 minutes. Consequently, family therapy can take up 50-55 minutes of your time.
Family therapy sessions also tend to be shorter as compared to other types of treatments. Family therapies usually last 12 sessions. However, some families can extend for more periods depending on their specific situation.
Which type of therapy is best?
It depends on what …
Promoting Family Mental Health During The Pandemic
At this time of the pandemic, it is vital to remain as healthy as possible. Staying healthy as a family is rewarding because you can avoid unnecessary vulnerability to diseases and unexpected medical expenses. While maintaining physical health is necessary, having a good state of mind with the family is essential to a holistic approach to overall health. Promoting mental health is also one way to cope up with the psychological stress of the pandemic.
Parents, the primary decision-makers in the family, play a crucial role during the pandemic. Their parental parts have now become more taxing because of the new work arrangements and tight health protocols in essential establishments such as the grocery and the bank.
Exploring Mental Health
Learning about mental health with the family is a fulfilling experience. The family can get to know more about each other by exploring the member’s mental health. Knowing more about the mental state can help in understanding the psychological needs of the family. Behaviors and intentions become more transparent and better understood when acknowledged by the family.
Information about mental health is free on most websites. Be sure to check the credibility and reputability of the source for factual knowledge. If you want a detailed discussion about mental health, you can also set an appointment with a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
Ways To Cope With Stress
The pandemic is causing stress and is dramatically impacting the psychological well-being of most people. Because of COVID-19, numerous people lost their jobs, businesses closed down, and even the children are feeling stressed. It is a challenging time for everyone. This unforeseen circumstance led to unexpected changes that everyone has to adapt to. In times like this, it is essential to find ways to cope that works best for you.
Children should have activities to stimulate their thinking and their bodies. They may feel bored and anxious because they may not fully understand what is going on, so explain it to them well. If possible, try to minimize screen time to facilitate more physical activities. Encourage your children to try different activities they may enjoy, such as arts, crafts, reading, exercising, and gardening. Child mental health needs critical focus because they, too, can feel the effects of the pandemic.
Parents also need to have a way of coping. Find time to do things that relax your mind, such as spending quality time with the family, cooking, working out and other hobbies that you might have put off. You can also try doing things together with your family to be productive and show support to each other.
Prevent Unhealthy Habits
During the pandemic, people need to stay at home most of the time. You could find new hobbies and pastimes to keep you feeling productive and active. However, it is crucial to make sure that these new activities are healthy. Beware that some hobbies that could be detrimental to you and your family and can further add stress and psychological strain.
For children, it is necessary to control their time on gadgets and other digital media. It is essential to instill discipline in children to prevent the disruption from their responsibilities. The screen time should be limited to allow the children to do their chores and daily tasks. Setting boundaries and scheduling help them know the value of time. These can also prevent overexposure to activities that could lead to addiction.
Meanwhile, adults are prone to addiction and vices. Some people may develop detrimental habits during the pandemic as a way to cope with the situation. To prevent this from happening, couples should support each other to keep their partners from bad habits. Help your partner get distracted by exploring new activities together as a replacement to the vices. Never hesitate to seek professional help if you and your partner feel helpless.
Supporting Each Other’s Problems
The pandemic has caused many difficulties and threats to humanity. From battling the disease’s complications to facing the economic crises, almost everyone is at their limits. To survive this pandemic, it is critical to stay resilient and adaptive. As a family, you need to support each other because a robust support system can do wonders for the family members.
Whether you have a family member who is sick or someone who lost a job, be sure to support them in the best way possible.
Having a family member with health complications is one of the last things you want to happen in your family. It is debilitating to the function of family members and causes severe emotional and mental stress. But by being there for each other, it can help release the psychological stress and ease the emotional burden. You can also look for support from your relatives and social groups.
With or without the pandemic, it is not easy to accept losing a job. This circumstance typically results in the questioning of self-worth and value. At the same time, it threatens the economic security of the family. If you have a family member going through this challenging situation, be sure to be there to reassure them of their value and that there is still hope for them.
Having good mental health with your family will be a daunting but fulfilling task. You get to know each other’s behaviors and learn more about their emotional needs. Explore different ways to cope with the effects of the pandemic together with the family. Support one another with the struggles and problems by showing appreciation and value to each other.
Always have hope and faith in your family that you can make it through this pandemic. No matter how hard life will be, having a supportive family ensures that you will find a calm center in your life.…
Today, we are faced with many stressful situations and unfamiliar circumstances brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are called to navigate through a new normal and change the way we spend our days mostly just stuck at home. This can be a tough time for families and marriages, and it could trigger anxiety and fear for anyone, both young and old.
It is essential to look out for your family’s health and wellness during this time. The “new normal” can leave anyone feeling overwhelmed and vulnerable. So we must find ways to stay stable and positive despite all the uncertainties. Here are practical ways to nurture your family’s health and wellness during the pandemic.
Establish A Healthy Routine At Home
A healthy routine at home is essential because it gives a sense of order amidst all the changes and adjustments that can be quite overwhelming and stressful. This way, there is somehow a continuous flow of events or activities that are predictable despite all the uncertainties the pandemic has brought about.
For young children, routines are established for them to know what to expect in their day and eventually find rhythm and independence. During these uncertain times, this could apply to people of all ages because everyone is called to navigate through a new normal, which has changed the way we spend our days.
Strengthen The Immune System
A healthy immune system is needed now more than ever as we all go through this pandemic. This is our number one shield from contracting the coronavirus. The best thing you can do to fend off the unpredictable spread of the virus is by focusing on boosting your family’s immunity and health.
Your family’s diet and eating habits are two things that can be altered right now to strengthen the immune system. Encourage your family to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, stay hydrated, take vitamins and supplements, get some sunlight, and exercise regularly.
Regulate Screen Time
The daily news updates about COVID-19 can be quite overwhelming and may trigger anxiety and fear. Although it is necessary to stay updated, regulating screen time and allotting time off TV news or social media is good for everyone’s mental health. This is also to help one focus on accomplishing daily tasks and responsibilities despite the turbulence, which can really take a toll on one’s productivity.
As for kids and teenagers who may be using gadgets all day because they are just stuck at home, it is best to set boundaries and encourage them to do other activities. Discipline with screen time for every member is good for everyone physically, emotionally, and socially.
Exercising together is a simple way to bond as a family while helping each other stay fit and healthy. Doing exercise with the family is also great motivation, especially for people who do not really like exercising. This keeps your endorphins high and increases blood circulation in your brain, reducing stress and keeping your body healthy.
Find fun and creative ways to move and break a sweat. Follow home workout videos, play backyard games and sports, ride the bike, or walk together.
Manage Conflicts Positively
We are all facing a time of distress, and the last thing you would want is additional stress from mishandled conflicts. During this time, disagreements may typically arise because of all the overwhelming circumstances.
It is important to remember to deal with frictions as positively as possible without letting your emotions get the best of you. Respond calmly and acknowledge your feelings. Instead of reacting negatively and impulsively, take time to sort out the problem, and encourage a healthy dialogue between family members.
Set Up Virtual Gatherings
With the help of technology and social media, staying connected with relatives and friends despite the physical distance is possible. Many might be experiencing cabin fever, so interacting virtually with people outside the home may give a sense of normalcy and connection.
In the virtual world, it is possible to throw birthday parties, celebrate graduations and other milestones, host playdates, do simple catch-ups, and even do activities such as exercising, cooking, and playing games. Despite the need for social distancing, we must find ways to cultivate our social lives to draw comfort and a deep sense of connection.
Schedule Family Bonding Activities
Despite everyone being busy adjusting to their new work or school home set-up and schedule, it is essential to bond as a family. Although family bonding is usually done outside of the home, there are many ways to make family bonding time at home fun and meaningful still. Here are some ideas:
- Host a family cook-off
- Revive old puzzles and board games
- Schedule movie nights
- Watch home videos
- Look back at old pictures
- Listen to throwback music
- Do DIY projects together
Take Care Of Your Well-Being
Taking care of your well-being is just as important as looking out for your family’s health and wellness. Despite being around your whole family almost 24/7, it is essential to set aside time to rest and reset your mind and body. This is a way to help manage emotions and regulate stress. You can help other people better if you also take care of yourself.
According to Dr. Nel Wieman, MD, “It will be very helpful if people can stay calm, keep themselves informed, and feel in control of the measures that they can take to protect themselves and their families.” The pandemic can undoubtedly affect one’s health and wellness. Still, there are many ways to strengthen family bonds and come out stronger after this challenging time.
Life after COVID-19 may, however, look uncertain at this point. So it is vital to look out for your family and find ways to create a sense of normalcy at home while adjusting to the new normal.