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Family Counseling in San Luis Obispo 

What is family counseling?

Family counseling is a collaborative process between a family, can be a nuclear family, extended family, blended family, or whatever your family may look like, and a therapist, all working together to improve communication or resolve conflict in a safe and unbiased space. As you can see, the focus is different compared to couples counseling or individual psychotherapy.

Does the whole family need to attend?

Ideally, everyone in the family should attend family counseling, unless some children are too young to understand the issues or the topic is not age-appropriate. It can also be helpful to have extended family join in some sessions depending on the topic and needs of the family. For example, if the family is having difficulties with boundaries with their in-laws, it would be helpful to bring in their in-laws to only process and discuss with the therapist present. 

When to seek help through family therapy?

Like individuals, family units ebb, flow, and change throughout time with the addition of more children, job loss, separation, mental or physical ailments, the list goes on. Not all of these changes may result in seeking out family counseling, while some may. Some signs to seek support are when an individual in the family has extreme emotional reactions such as anger, fear, or sadness when a family member is isolating or withdrawing themselves from the family unit, changes in behaviors at home or at school, traumatic experiences or death in the family, or substance use disorders are present in the home. . While those are just a few reasons, there are many others why you may be considering getting support for you and your family now, all reasons are valid

What can I expect from family counseling?

Family therapy can help explore a family's ability to resolve conflict, teach more effective communication styles between various family members, explore various family members' roles, behaviors, and structures that may be impacting the family, and learning new tools for you and your family to use at home. 

How long does family therapy "take"?

Many people searching for therapy are also wondering how long does it take to begin to notice progress in your family. Just like individual therapy, marriage counseling or couples counseling, family therapy there isn't a "set time frame" to begin noticing differences in your family. There are three stages in therapy; beginning, middle, and end. The beginning, first initial sessions, is focused on gathering information on the family, identifying goals for their time together, and building trust among all participating individuals. The middle is the meat and potatoes of any counseling process, where we work together on the identified goal by learning new tools, processing openly in session, and giving homework to work outside of the room. We will learn together and make changes throughout the work to make the most out of your family sessions. Conclusion to family therapy is based on maintaining the progress made thus far and should you want to, a periodical check-in.

What approach do you use in family therapy?

My training in working with families comes from a family systems theory, which comes from the perspective of seeing the family as a "whole unit" where each member of the family's behavior directly impacts the behavior and feelings of another. Through this lens, we will work together to identify what is working for the family unit and what goals are needed to support the family in functioning in a way they would like to be functioning. That's what I offer in my practice here in San Luis Obispo.

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