Top 10 Reasons Why You May Need Family Counseling
By Joy Youell
Updated March 03, 2020
Reviewer Karen Devlin, LPC
The family is the most important connection that humans have with one another. Societies formed around family units and without our connection to each other and our biological instinct to protect our families, humans may not have evolved and advanced the way they have.
However, not all families are without troubles, stress or conflict. The key to having and keeping a successful family unit moving forward is to be able to understand and identify the needs of the individual members and balance those with the well-being of the family unit. Family counseling is a unique form of therapy that can help with addressing all of those needs.
If you are thinking about family counseling, that in itself is a good signifier that you need it. As you make this important decision to seek outside support, here are ten reasons that indicate that your family may benefit from counseling. As you look for a family counselor, consider all of the options available, including a traditional, local counselor and online therapists.
#1 - The Blended Family
A blended family is when two separate family units decide to become one. This can happen when one person with two children marries someone else that has one child. A blended family can also occur when someone without kids marries a parent or, in the same situation, the couple then has children of their own, creating half-siblings.
These types of families can be difficult to navigate, especially when there are other parents from previous relationships still involved in the children's lives. The step-parent role can be full of ongoing negotiations as you create boundaries. Whatever role you have, everyone's goal is probably to have a harmonious family unit where all members feel heard and acknowledged. Family counseling can help you with this.
#2 - The Disconnected Family
Are you noticing that your family doesn't talk anymore? Are your teenagers sitting around the dinner table Tweeting and Tik-Tok-ing rather than telling you about their day? Do you find yourself reaching for your phone to check your messages before you even get out of bed in the morning? Do you know who your husband went to lunch with before he updated his Instagram feed and tagged you?
The more connected we are to our phones and virtual worlds, the less connected we may be with the people who mean the most to us. Family counseling can help families who aren't communicating effectively get unplugged from the electronics and back in tune with each other.
#3 - The Loner
Teenagers can be moody and adolescents begin to have a desire for privacy. Sometimes your wife may want a day to herself to get away from her busy motherhood, or your husband may long for a weekend fishing trip with the guys. Wanting some alone time is normal for everyone, no matter what age you are.
But if you see a family member withdrawing from the family, preferring to stay in their room rather than come down for dinner every night, not socializing with their friends or family anymore, this can become a major problem.
Often, people who slowly withdraw from social situations may be suffering from depression or other mental health issues that need to be addressed. Other times a family member, especially a child, who withdraws may be dealing with bullying or abuse. No matter the reason, family counseling can help you reconnect.
#4 - The Drama Queen
If you are a parent, there has been a time where you were a teenager, so you know that teenagers need to come with a whole other set of instructions that you will never get. Teenage years are full of emotion, angst and questioning. If your teen is having frequent meltdowns and getting overly emotional, this may be a sign of an underlying issue.
Children that act out often do not have a reason for their behavior. Most people have trouble regulating their emotions until their brains are fully developed around age 22-25 and others never quite get a grip on it. Family counseling can help identify the underlying issues happening in your family that is causing emotional torment for your children and family.
#5 - The Addict
Addiction can affect anyone in the family from your spouse to your teen or extended family members. Even if the addict is not in your immediate family, the consequences of their actions may be felt strongly. Alcohol and drug abuse can be hard to come to terms with, especially when there is either a strong history or lack of history of drug and alcohol use in the family.
Whether your loved one needs an intervention, rehab services or counseling, the entire family will benefit from family counseling and learning how to support each other and fight addiction together.
#6 - The Secret Keeper
Having secrets, or certain things you keep to yourself, is natural and healthy. While being an open book can be important in a family and communication is essential in marriage, having a few things you keep to yourself shouldn't hurt anyone. However, if you find yourself constantly keeping things from your spouse or arranging things purposely for your spouse to not find out, this behavior is deceitful and secretive and can lead to some major marriage blow ups.
Family counseling can help you and your spouse discover the underlying cause of the distance created between you and why secrets are being kept. A family counselor can also help to bridge the communication gap you are experiencing with your partner.
#7 - The Sexual Drought
According to a popular study, partners should have sex at least once per week to maintain intimacy and closeness. Waiting longer than a week to be intimate with your partner is proven to lead to distance and lack of openness and struggles with communication. There are many reasons why couples go through a sexual drought. Sometimes it is because of medications or hormone imbalances lowering our libido. Other times it can be due to something internal with the relationship.
A lack of intimacy in a relationship can be a sign of communication struggles, depression, disconnect or simply not making enough time for each other. Often, when couples are having trouble with the intimacy, they begin to have trouble in other areas of their relationship as well which can lead to bickering and fighting. Family counseling can be the key to reconnecting with your partner physically and emotionally.
#8 - Intimacy as Punishment
When your husband or wife doesn't do the dishes when they say they would or messages a past partner on Facebook to see how they are doing, do you withhold intimacy as punishment for their actions? You should never feel as though you have to punish your partner. In a relationship, two people should work together for a mutually beneficial solution to their issue, not punish each other.
Withholding intimacy is the easiest way to manipulate our spouses and sometimes we may not even realize we are doing it. This behavior can cause a huge lack of balance in a relationship and lead to resentment and anger. Family counseling can help you to find better ways of communicating your needs with your spouse.
#9 - Growing Apart
People naturally grow and change as they get older. In a relationship, sometimes we need to adapt to the way our families change and grow. When children are teenagers, adult parents get the chance to think about the way they want to live their lives when their kids are out of the house and, at times, family members can have very different ideas of what this looks like.
You may have a child at home that wants to stay put because they are going to college at home and they don't want to move out. You may want to move to the mountains while your spouse wants to adventure around the world.
A family counselor can help your family navigate its future without the bickering and fighting. Counseling provides a context for open lines of communication with a neutral mediator.
#10 - Holding Grudges
When one of the members of a family is holding a grudge, it can be felt by and affect the entire family. If you are constantly holding it over your husband's head that he lost 1,000 dollars in a drunken weekend at the horse betting track or nagging your wife about the time she wrecked your favorite car after you told her not to drive it or criticizing your daughter because she hasn't spoken to your other daughter in weeks, you may need family counseling.
Holding grudges is poison to a family because it builds resentment, anger, and contempt. These feelings often lead to fighting and unnecessary bitterness. Sometimes we don't even remember why we are mad at the person because we have held a grudge for so long: we just know we are mad. Family counseling is there for your family when the walls of trust and communication are breaking down. Below are some reviews of ReGain counselors for you to review, from people experiencing different family issues.
"Yumi is amazing and a perfect fit for us. Just having one video session help our family so much in so many ways. He responses are on point and we value it greatly. I can't thank her enough for all she has continued to do to strengthen our family. I would recommend her to the world that's how amazing she is."
"Dr Bown has made significant impact in our lives and She is always giving honest advice and we feel she genuinely cares about our family. She is a valued treasure that we are grateful for in our lives :)"
There are many reasons why families benefit from counseling. Not all of the indicators for a therapy need are listed here, but this list is a good place to start. If you are a busy family, online therapy may be perfect for you. You can find a time that is convenient for everyone, even if it's outside the office hours of a therapist. Don't worry about sitting in traffic or crowding into a waiting room. Finding the right licensed counselor with ReGain may be the perfect step to get your family back on track. Take the first step.