Valuable Benefits of FAMILY THERAPY at Ozark Trails
When a family struggles with an adolescent child, or troubled teen, Family Therapy offers them an effective way to understand each other and improve family relationships. Often, the roots of dysfunctional behaviors that children and teens exhibit, grow from problems within the family system. Family Therapy helps them all communicate in more positive, constructive ways, led and supported by an experienced family therapist.
If a therapist only treats the struggling child or teen, he sees the symptoms, but does not know about the greater context of the patient’s interactions with family members. Without understanding how and when these difficult relations formed, a therapist may not know the best way to treat the patient. What’s going on in the family affects everyone, especially the kids. And how the family reacts to a child or teen’s problems can really make a difference.
According to Michael Herkov, PhD., “Family therapy views a person’s symptoms as taking place in the larger context of the family.” He adds, “Even if only a part of the family can attend, family therapy can be a very powerful therapeutic modality that can lead to more lasting and quicker changes than individual psychotherapy alone.”
Another important aspect of family therapy includes training on how to communicate with one another. When dysfunctional patterns of communication need to be identified and corrected, family therapy offers valuable lessons on “how to listen, ask questions, and respond non-defensively,” Herkov adds.
When parents decide to send their troubled adolescent or teen to a therapeutic boarding school and home, it’s important that therapy includes the family. Some therapeutic homes offer family therapy sessions once a week or once a month, either on-site, or through online viewing and participation with the child.
Others provide a therapeutic mentoring approach for families, giving supportive counseling and advice for the parents. In this way, therapists can “combine treatment for the child with supportive coaching for their parents,” an experienced therapist explains.
Family therapy prepares parents and children “to effectively deal with the inevitable struggles that will come…to cope with problems as they arise…to work together as a whole,” he affirms. “By the time the child returns home, there is a completely different ‘family system’ in place.”
While Family Therapy may seem scary to some participants, the interactive sessions usually take place in a safe, supportive office environment, led by an experienced therapist. And even though people like to keep ‘family secrets’, investigating the history of family relationships and events helps the therapist identify ‘how and why’ these factors affected the troubled adolescent patient.
Members of the family—parents, grandparents, siblings—all must be ready to open up and explore the impact that dysfunctional relationships and troubling events had on them, as well. Then together, they recognize the hurts and begin to heal as a family. The overall process helps them create a better, active home environment, where the teen can return after long-term individual treatment at a/our licensed therapeutic boarding school and home.
Another important aspect of Family Therapy is building trust between family members through therapeutic activities. Parents can find many resources online that list creative activities to help children and teens open up and share their thoughts and feelings. And if a family wants to strengthen bonds at home, there are also many resources available online that suggest positive parent, child and teen activities as well.
Many therapeutic boarding schools and homes will provide these resources as part of their Family Therapy process, and help parents learn fun and creative ways to nurture their relationships, and strengthen family bonding.
For more information on Family Therapy at Ozark Trails Academy, call (417) 278-6868 now.