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Family Therapy 101

Big or small, we depend on our families more than we know, or care to admit. Starting from a young age, family sets the basis for who we become.

Look at it this way: families are like pieces of a puzzle. Each piece has a place to fill and a role to play, depending on their responsibilities within the family.

If one or more pieces don’t make an effort to collaborate, the puzzle will begin to break apart. When this happens, some families seek counseling through family therapy sessions.

In this post, we’ll talk about the fundamentals of family therapy 101. We’ll focus mainly on four approaches commonly used by family therapists.

Let’s get started.

What Is Family Therapy?

A branch of psychotherapy, family therapy’s main role is to help nourish healthy relationships within the family. It also teaches family members hands-on communication methods to help them get to the root of the problem.

One of the advantages of family therapy is that each family member will learn more about the other. They’ll recognize one another’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as their hopes and dreams. This way, they can cooperate and work together to rebuild their family unit.

What Is The Role Of A Family Therapist?

Family therapists are typically assigned by a licensed therapist or clinical social worker. These licensed professionals have either graduate or postgraduate degrees. Many are also accredited by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).

A therapist’s main role is to act as a catalyst to get the conversation going. When communication improves, it becomes easier to forge stronger, more resilient connections.

Therapists will encourage family members to use certain techniques outside therapy sessions. They can also be used with friends and colleagues.

After all, how you interact with family is a reflection of how you interact with the outside world. When the former is healthy and balanced, the latter will be as well.

4 Common Family Therapy Techniques

Bowenian

Murray Bowen is the father of this family therapy technique. His comprehensive approach depends on the ability to separate feelings from thoughts.

Bowen called this technique self-differentiation. He believed that this form of therapy reduces anxiety levels within the family unit. He suggested it would be better to work with each family member individually. Then, as things progressed, they could attend the sessions together once again.

His therapy method mainly uses genograms as an essential tool. It helps sort out intergenerational family dynamics and identify underlying problems.

Strategic

Two renowned therapists, Milton Erickson and Jay Haley, are the masterminds behind this technique. They believed the best way to bring about change is to generate new responses to old behaviors. So, they devised the strategic family therapy technique based on second-order change.

Second-order change refers to the formation of new reactions to old behavioral patterns. To carry this out, most of the therapy is carried outside the session itself.

How it works is that a therapist will give the family certain tasks to do at home. In turn, family members are encouraged to experiment with different responses.

With this technique, therapists usually use paradoxical intention. This is when each person in the family increases their problematic behavior. Inevitably, certain changes are bound to take place as a result.

Structural

The structural technique recognizes that family problems arise because of an imbalance within the family structure. Developed by Salvador Minuchin, he felt that to be healthy, a family needs to set up certain boundaries.

One of the most-used tools in this technique is the structural map. In it, each family is encouraged to define its hierarchies and boundaries.

Through this technique, parents are advised to take a more dynamic role in their children’s lives. They’re encouraged to present a unified front.

They’re also advised to use triangulation. This is when one person steps in to help restore lines of communication between two family members. This person could be part of the family, a close friend, or the therapist.

Systemic

The systemic family therapy technique is also known as the Milan Model. It‘s built on the belief that family units are interconnected. 

Many times, a family member may develop certain traits to help them cope with the behavior of others in the family. This technique aims at changing that unwanted behavior in the hope of reconciling the family unit once more.

It does this by encouraging family members to question their knowledge of family dynamics. One common tool used in systemic therapy is circular questions. 

With the help of circular questions, family members learn to understand one another’s viewpoints through certain questions, like:

  • How does problem X affect you?
  • What ideas does so-and-so have about situation Y?
  • Who in the family cares the most about you?
  • What do you appreciate about Z?

Conclusion

We now have some basic understanding of family therapy 101. Family, as a larger context, is almost always the culprit behind a child’s behavioral problems.

This is where family therapy comes in. It’s a comprehensive approach that relies heavily on interpersonal and cognitive therapy.

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Relationships Uncategorized

What Do The Ageing Need From Us?

Its sad – but it’s the way life goes, our much loved parents and grandparents – like all of us , are getting older. These are the elders we love, the people who were – and still are, always there for us.

They’re moving more slowly and grey hairs are popping up more and more each time we see them.

Now we are becoming the generation whose turn it is to step up – step up and be available to be the support to our parents that they were for us – in this crucial stage of their lives.

Yes, now they are a bit older, our parents or grandparents might love the fact that now they are free to do whatever they want to do – to do the things they never got the chance to do when they were carrying for us. At other times however, they may be isolated and lonely.

So, what can we do to help them stay healthy and happy? After all, most of us want the elderly in our lives that we treasure and love to feel content and comfortables.

As our loved ones grow older, they need certain requirements in their lives. Here are some of the ways we can help them feel their best and live their life to the fullest.

# Meaningful Relationships

As people get older, they become more aware of what’s important in life. 9 times out of 10 seniors will tell you nothing is more important than family.

So, it’s important to take the time to sit and listen to what they have to say. Or just hi and ask about their day.

It may seem like their problems are different from ours. Yet, the truth is, they worry about the same things we do: money, health, and relationships. They may just not have anyone to share their worries with.

#A Role in the Community

Seniors also need to build relationships outside the home and be part of their community. Feeling that you belong and are needed is crucial.

Studies show that the sense of belonging has the power to reduce stress, ward off illnesses. When they feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves, it adds meaning to their life. It also buffers feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Plus, it stimulates the release of feel-good hormones and improves our overall well-being. How can anyone say ‘no’ to that!

Being part of the community can come in the form of volunteer work. They can do simple tasks, like help out once a week at a homeless shelter or local soup kitchen.

There are also senior centers that offer a wide variety of programs. These programs are designed to bring seniors together to join in activities, such as:

  • Gardening
  • Crafts
  • Cooking
  • Book clubs
  • Exercise programs

# Daily Routine

Some seniors find that living by the moment is more exciting. Although, the majority enjoy having a daily routine more than spontaneity.

They actually view routine as a source of comfort and reliability. Part of their regular routine could be waking up at around the same time each day. Then, they head to the bathroom and change their clothes.

After that, they have a nutritious, well-balanced breakfast along with their morning cup of coffee. If they take any morning medications, now would be a good time. Finally, they would start getting ready for any planned activities or visits.

It’s important to have a weekly schedule already drawn out ahead of time. It gives seniors a sense of stability knowing what’s on their agenda.

In addition, it’s easier knowing what they have to prepare for beforehand. It also puts less stress on their memories when they can predict what will happen during the entire week.

# Physical Activity

Physical activity is important at any age. Yet, it’s more important as we get older to help maintain muscle mass and support joints. Not only that, but exercise has been proven to make us feel happy and reduce mental health problems.

For seniors, exercising can become a difficult and boring chore if not done right. The key to encouraging seniors to exercise is to offer simple, low-impact workouts they can do on their own.

Staying physically active reduces the risk of falls as it improves balance. It also increases both bone density and muscle strength.

# A Sense of Independence

No matter what anyone says, we all love being cared for, even seniors. Besides the pampering, you’ll notice that there are also quite a few things they need help with.

But there comes a time when you have to know when to take a step back and give the senior in your life some space. They still value their independence and self-reliance a great deal.

Being able to do things for themselves boosts their self-esteem. It’s also beneficial for their cognitive functions and keeps the brain in tiptop shape.

#A Final Note

Now that we’re aware of what our aging people need from us, we can offer the right type of care and support. This can range from helping out with daily tasks or lending a sympathetic ear.

The important thing is to be there for our seniors. They need to know that they’re a respected and honored part of the community and our lives.

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Relationships

Some Ideas on How to Improve Your Relationships With Friends

Friendship is a major part of our lives. We can’t exist without our friends and all the memories we share.

Our friends are the first ones we run to when we have good news or need a shoulder to cry on. At the same time, they’re also some of the people we take for granted most in our lives. If your friendships seem like they’re in troubled waters, we’re here to help.

In this hi-tech day and age, we’re all busy doing our thing and living our lives. But that shouldn’t mean you leave your friendships behind. There are many things you can do to stay close to your friends despite your busy work/family schedule. After all, it was Honest Abe who said, “The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships.”

ًWe know how much your friendships mean to you. So, we rounded up five simple ways to improve your relationships with friends.

Let’s get started.

Keep in Touch

Every friendship is different. Some friends you can see every week, while you can only catch up with other friends every other month.

Nothing is quite as great as spending some quality time with your friends. However, it’s not always easy to schedule frequent get-togethers. Luckily, there are ways to keep the friendship strong in the meantime.

Simple things like dropping a text with a ‘how’s your day going?’ or a smiley emoji. Then, several days later, when you have time, write out an email telling them about their week. Ask them to do the same.

Technology may have its drawbacks. But when it comes to keeping people connecting, it does a pretty good job.

Remember Important Dates

This should be a no-brainer. Even if your friend doesn’t make a big deal about their birthday. It’s important that you send a gift, a card, or even a funny GIF. People appreciate it when their friends take a little time out of their day to acknowledge them.

Again, technology helps out in this department as well. You can use Google Calendar to add in all the birthday dates. Then, to be extra vigilant, set a reminder a week in advance so you have time to organize a gift.

Be a Good Listener

We get caught up in our own world. We’re used to expressing our point of view and feelings that we often neglect the feelings of others.

To establish enduring friendships, you have to listen to your friends and respect their opinions. Ask open-ended questions and pay attention to what your friends are saying. This is one of the best ways you can build a lasting bond between you and your friends.

Equally important is maintaining eye-contact. Avoid holding your phone and nodding your head the whole time they’re talking.

You also need to acknowledge your friends’ feelings and needs. Be open to their suggestions and be willing to compromise at times.

Open Up

Sharing good news with your friends boosts the value of these events in your life. Having special people support you enriches your life and makes it more special. It also promotes trust and gratitude.

You should also share with your friends when you have a problem. Everyone likes having a support system, and your friendships will grow stronger because of it.

There’s no doubt your friends will appreciate your willingness to open up and share. They’ll be happy that you put your trust in them, just like they did when they needed a shoulder to cry on and you were there for them.

Do Nice Things for Your Friends

One way to show your appreciation and love for your friends is to do something nice for them. It’s a great way to show how much you value their friendship.

Helping your friends out is a great way to strengthen your friendship. Plus, we guarantee you’ll have a great time and make great memories in the meantime. Then, whenever you need some help, you’ll find your friends there for you.

To help you get started, here are a few ideas:

  • Compliment their skills or judgment
  • Throw them a celebratory party if they get a raise or a promotion
  • Help them set up a bookshelf
  • Fix a leaky faucet

The Takeaway

Personal relationships are vital for our happiness and health. Any person who’s happy and successful in their lives has several meaningful friendships in their lives.

Yet, because we’re so busy, we can sometimes take our friendships for granted. These five simple ways to improve your relationships with friends will guarantee that that never happens—no matter how hectic your schedule is.

Friends are a precious gift. So, make the most of even the smallest moments and show some gratitude for having them in your life.