Relationship counseling is the process of counseling the parties of a relationship in an effort to recognize and to better manage or reconcile troublesome differences and repeating patterns of distress. The relationship involved may be between a couple or members of a family, employees or employers in a workplace, or between a professional and a client.
Family counseling brings into the therapy session various family members to nurture change and development. It tends to view the problem in terms of the systems of interaction between family members. It emphasizes family relationships as an important factor in psychological health. As such, family problems are seen to arise due to the systemic interactions of the family members, rather than to be blamed on individuals in the family.
At aha NOW! Counseling we utilize several types of family systems therapy. One of these is Bowen Family Systems Theory, which views the family as an emotional unit and uses systems thinking to describe the complex interactions in the unit. Terry Kellogg and Marvel Harrison, nationally recognized for their work and writing in the addiction/codependency and family systems field, have trained all of our psychotherapists through their Lifeworks program.
Family dynamics can impact our life in many ways and may contribute to our current mental health issues. Regardless of the constellation of your family or the type of family in which you were raised, families can leave an imprint on our lives as adults. Many people are reluctant to address family problems that continue to bother them despite years of mental health problems and therapy. Family of origin issues can contribute to addictions, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other mental health disorders. If family of origin issues are a part of one’s presenting problem, our psychotherapists will suggest working on these issues along with other pronounced mental health problems. We approach these issues in a gentle and effective manner. aha NOW! Counseling psychotherapists are highly trained in family systems theory, which assists clients in working on these difficult issues. Once the family of origin issues are worked through and understood, other mental health issues become more manageable and sometimes no longer are present. We utilize Family Systems Theory including Bowen Family Systems Theory, Gestalt Therapy and Psychodrama. Additionally, all of our psychotherapists have been trained by Terry Kellogg and Marvel Harrison, nationally recognized for their work and writing in family systems and addiction/codependency fields.
The parent and child relationship is the most important intimate relationship that human beings develop. These relationships can be positive and nurturing for both child and parent. However, not all parent and child relationships are conflict free. Due to the intimate and long-lasting nature of this type of relationship, conflicts may arise at any point in a child’s development. The psychotherapists at aha NOW! Counseling have expertise in helping parents and their children navigate these conflicts. Whether the issue is due to a child’s acting out behaviors during their younger years or changes occurring during adolescence, we can help you understand the developmental complications that might be occurring and provide assistance to both parents and children as they work through these difficult issues.
IMAGO is a specialized therapy that focuses on couples’ relationships. This theory and practice of therapy was developed by Harville Hendrix and is outlined in his book, Getting the Love You Want. This therapy has often been featured on Oprah as a very successful means of improving couples’ communication. Where most forms of couple’s counseling is based on a form of negotiation, IMAGO therapy addresses the individuals’ emotional hurts underlying the hurtful behavior or communication. Once a partner understands the other’s source of pain, they usually change their typical response, which changes the tone and energy of the relationship. The outcome is that each person in the relationship feels heard and understood increasing his or her commitment to a positive and mutual relationship. Partners find that they look forward to discussing all matters of the heart and that no topic is ‘off limits.’ When couples use the IMAGO tools of empathic listening and validation it increases their love filled energy and connection to one another. With most couples, one of the partners initiates the therapy process. The other partner often feels like therapy is ‘a trip to the dentist’ or ‘like going to the principal’s office’. But with IMAGO therapy, no criticism is allowed. Both partners in the relationship are engaged in a process that expands the magic of the relationship and is a safe learning experience for both.
Developed by John Gottman, PhD, this type of marital and relationship therapy is based on Dr. Gottman’s three decades of research on all facets of married life, including parenting issues. He and his wife, Julie, have developed an approach that strengthens happy marriages and committed relationships and supports and repairs troubled ones. The lessons learned from Dr. Gottman’s research allowed him to develop specific training methods and education of behaviors, which improve relationship functioning, and the avoidance of certain behaviors, which deteriorate relationships.
Being the parent of a child with special needs can be very stressful in many ways. At aha NOW! Counseling we look at empowering those parents in dealing with the various systems they encounter as well as helping them through their own personal struggles. This includes depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, acceptance, and family dynamic changes. We look at how the illness affects the family as a whole and the individuals. The health care system, school system, and social service system can be very difficult to navigate on your own. We help empower parents/caregivers to advocate in these systems.
Moving forward following a divorce can be one of the biggest challenges that a family (adults and children alike) can face. Family members must deal with the grief and loss of losing their identity as a family. They must face the possibility of losing relationships. They face new financial challenges. Parenting must occur in new and different ways. Each individual must build a new social life. Children encounter divided loyalties and the uncertainty of not knowing what to say or who they can talk with. The adults must adjust to being “ex-”. They must adjust to seeing an ex-spouse with a new mate or with a new life style. At aha NOW! Counseling trained therapists can help family members move forward and face the future with confidence.