Family counselling – because relationships are important. We’re all part of a family, whether we live with or even keep in contact with our family, the relationships, good or bad, shape our early lives, and impact our adult relationships. Family Counselling therapists are family relationship specialists. If you have questions or concerns about your family, or a particular family member, speaking with a family counsellor can be helpful. Whatever is going on has an impact that reaches all members of your family in one way or another. It may be that something’s changed recently – often that’s the time when people come to family counseling. On the other hand, it may be that something has been occurring for a long time, and you would like to see positive change at last. Change is possible!
A recent survey of couple and family therapy clients found 98% rated the services as good or excellent, and 97% reported they received the kind of help they wanted. Michele has spent much of her career working with couples and families. Her work has covered a diverse range of needs, where the focus was parent-teen conflict, parenting young children, families recovering from abuse, families affected by someone’s substance use, families working their way through separation or divorce, or families whose adolescent or young adult has been recovering from mental health concerns. Generally, the first step is to talk together to identify what’s going on, to understand the experiences of all those impacted, and then with the support of a family therapist, family members decide how to make things better. Feeling better is possible. When you decide that your family needs some help, the task of finding help can be daunting. Family counsellors are specially trained to work with complex situations that arise in families. Only a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist (RMFT) has met the rigorous educational and training requirements necessary to become a Clinical Fellow with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Michele is an experienced and skillful AAMFT Clinical Fellow and a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist. A free telephone consultation is available with Michele if you would like to find out more.
Does everyone have to come to a family counselling session?
The short answer is “no”. Everyone is impacted by the situation you’re concerned about, and their experience could be valuable in better understanding what’s happening, though positive change can start with just one person, and family sessions will remain open to include any additional family members when and if they choose to participate.
What can I expect during a session?
Family therapists are often portrayed in popular media as either experts who analyze the “deep inner meanings” of behavior, or a passive witnesses to a family’s yelling match. Neither depicts family therapy accurately. As an educator of clinicians learning to do family work, Michele encourages clinicians to engage in a collaborative approach with family members, taking time to understand each person’s perspective, and then working together with families to prioritize and find achievable steps forward. Some conversations focus on family members’ meaning of events and interactions. Family members know their own families best, and a family therapist knows how to facilitate relationships. The work happens together, with both parties playing an active role. As for people bursting out in a yelling match, Michele works diligently to keep the office a safe environment. If yelling is part of what happens outside the counseling office, doing more of it in session doesn’t tend to allow productive conversation, and sometimes sets the process back a few steps. Family sessions are best described as safe conversations with a purpose. Working with Michele, that purpose is oriented toward validation, collaboration, and developing mutual understanding, and workable solutions to what’s troubling families in the present. People often remark after a family session that they learn things about themselves and each other that they didn’t realize, they gain awareness of how problems crept up, and gain hope that their relationships can be restored, even strengthened through the experience. Family therapy works.
How does confidentiality work in family counselling?
Some information is private between family members, and some is private between the therapist and an individual. That doesn’t change when others join a family meeting. What is shared and with whom is your choice, with the only exceptions being the legal limits of confidentiality that are mandated by law. If you have any question about confidentiality, or wish a particular discussion to remain private, speak with Michele about your wishes. Generally, when family members are together, family members themselves are the ones who talk about their experiences to each other. The family therapist may counsel individual family members about how to share something, or simply support the conversation to take place.
Take a moment today to consult about how family counselling can help your family. Many extended medical plans will cover all or part of the cost for family counselling with a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist, Registered Social Worker and/or a Registered Clinical Counsellor.