Couples counseling specific features


In the process of couples counseling a client is a whole family, but not an individual with certain violations. All patterns of individual counseling are extended on more complex system counselor - family, but it certainly complicates the consultation process. There is a huge number of families experiencing difficulties in relationships in modern society. A large number of divorces and growing number of single-parent families is a result of these difficulties. Couples counseling is designed to help families overcome these difficulties. Work of practical psychologist in family counseling is aimed at providing psychological assistance during family creation period or crisis period as well as assistance in children upbringing.


The concept of family counseling is often used too narrowly, namelly as family assistance to prevent parent's divorce. Modern approach to family counseling is much wider. According to Whitaker, classic family counseling does not talk about the individual as a self-sufficient integrity: we all are like fragments of family systems. All individual and social pathology has intrafamily nature, Whitaker said. Therefore, it is extremely important to work with all family members for practical psychologist. There are so-called healthy families, or functional families and problematic, or dysfunctional families. Every person creates a family in order to meet his needs. If human needs are fully met in family group, the person feels happy, if satisfying his personal needs each family member makes efforts, then it is a problem. Healthy family meets the needs of each family member growth. This is achieved by mutual respect, the similarity of interests and values, tolerance to each other, but also the clarity of intergenerational boundaries and flexible power structure.


Problematic family does not allow each of its members to grow. Representatives of dysfunctional families experience lack of warmth, a sense of shame for any of its members and a need to create family myths. Difficulties that arise in families can be described as sudden - loss of a family member or change of social status, chronic - constant conflicts and poor living conditions and critical periods in life - they are observed between the 3rd and 7th years of living together, and between the 17th and 25th years. The first crisis is related to the tensions that have arisen because of unrealistic expectations. Second crisis is associated with the separation of children from their families and a growing sense of life emptiness. These difficulties lead to conflicts and contradictions, the result is low family adaptability, inability of its members to work and live together, differences in kid's upbringing methods. Tension will only increase unless not to harmonize relations. Theoretically, any problematic family may be transformed into happy.


Julia Repkina for Ken Fierheller Calgary most renowned couples counsellor.


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