Family counselling can be in any shape or form. Mum and daughter, dad and son, mum, dad, children, grandparents or whanau.
When things are getting heated no-one is usually listening, yet everyone wants to be heard. When everyone comes into the counselling room here, we slow everything down and allow each person to be heard and to voice their hurts and feelings in safety. The goal is to get each person to be heard and understood, as this fosters respect. I have the experience as a counsellor and understand the dynamics which will foster healthy communication.
I tend to see a lot of parents with teenagers, and enjoy this work a lot. Growing up and battling the way through teenage angst can be a hard. Teenagers I find are a little like a spinning compass looking for something. When I show them how to cope, how to build their self-worth and do healthy thinking, healthy emotions follow. It is a bit like holding a magnet of truth next to their compass!
These are common in families as emotions and opinions run high. There is often good reasoning for the huge reactions as one tries to protect oneself from being overpowered, dominated or controlled by others in the family who want to wield power. There are also really good tools available to regain a balance of power, and also keep ones dignity.
Did you ever watch the film Quadrophenia or have the LP by the band The Who? It is a classic covering of a teenager experiencing Teenage Angst” and struggling with the issues of changing from a child into an adult. You know, that hard bit in-between! I really enjoy it when a mum or dad drags in a half willing teen to “get them sorted”! It takes about 40 minutes for youngsters to trust me, then they see the power available in the way of seeing and doing things differently. The force is the personal power they find in attaining the vital Life-Skills needed to grow up and feel in control. This enables them to Respond to the hard things they will face, rather than simply reacting to them. This counselling is also powerful for parents... Oh, yes, and of course the all importance of solid Self-Worth and Self-Valuing systems, which are what protects them from the influence of the bullies and peer-pressures...
Heard of the Mascot, Scapegoat, Invisible or Hero kids? These are a few of the roles we can assume as we grow up. Siblings can be cruel to each other, and there are reasons. To survive we need good skills and wisdom, or we become set-up for trouble. Sometimes it is not until in adulthood that the pain of the past needs to be debriefed, and new conclusions formed of the past to be able to leave it behind...
Were we ever taught to be great parents, or does it just happen? Parenting well is a challenge and there are great resources and good help available.
Many families have a difficult person, and often they make you think you are it! Recognising what unacceptable behaviour is and how to front a person up to it needs care and good boundary setting skills. On occasion however, only distance will work.