The Positive Effects of Marriage and Family Therapy

Did you know that almost a quarter of people between 18 to 24 years old have used mental health services this year? With the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, mental health and wellbeing are more important than ever.

Although there are many ways that you can take care of your mental health by yourself, sometimes it can be a better idea to use therapy. One of the most popular forms of therapy is marriage and family therapy, which focuses primarily on relationship dynamics.

Would you like to learn more about how you can make the most out of therapy? Here are some of the many ways that you can work on yourself with the help of family or marriage counseling.

Develop Better Interpersonal Relationships

If you have trouble communicating with people or expressing your feelings, then mental health and counseling services may help you. With a therapist, you can improve your strategies for communicating with others and improve your social life.

Sometimes people with social anxiety have a difficult time talking to people without being afraid. In therapy, you can learn skills that you can use to connect with others in a social setting.

For improving relationships, your therapist may run scenarios with you to learn how to converse with people. You can also acquire skills like standing up for yourself, addressing those with authority, or confronting someone in a respectful way.

Learn Coping Mechanisms

One of the main goals for many people going to therapy is to deal with their problems in a healthy way. Often times, people who suffer from depression or anxiety will turn to alcohol or bad habits as a way to feel better. Some of the most common coping mechanisms include binge eating, drug use, alcohol use, or serial relationships.

Your therapist may talk to you about what you use to cope with problems and then find suitable substitutes. For instance, if you have anger issues and feel the need to fight when you are confronted, you could take out that energy with a punching bag instead.

Sometimes coping mechanisms will simply involve a change of mindset. If you tend to use alcohol to dull your pain, then you will need to learn how to sit with your problems and work through them in a more healthy way instead.

Heal Past Traumas

Often a doctor will recommend going to see a therapist when you have experienced trauma. Whether the trauma was recent or occurred in your childhood, it can impact how you deal with issues and triggers in the present. You might not even know it’s a problem until something triggers you.

Sometimes post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can develop as a result of trauma. Therapists use a variety of methods to treat PTSD, like exposure therapy, which involves slowly exposing you to something that may remind you of your past trauma.

If you don’t feel comfortable with exposure therapy, you can also ask your therapist to use a method that will help you process your trauma through many different sessions. Through this type of training, your therapist will help you learn to think about your trauma in a new light so that you can try to move on from it.

Better Parenting Techniques

Family counseling can help if you have trouble with parenting or your children need to learn how to treat other family members with respect. Family therapists will often talk to all of the family members to assess what the major problems are within the family unit.

For conditions like ADHD, some therapists recommend that you try helping the child learn new behaviors first. The therapist can teach your child how to deal with different types of situations. Ideally, it is a good idea to instill these techniques before your child goes to school and interacts with other students.

You and your partner or spouse can also work together to try techniques that the family therapist may recommend. You can also update your therapist on what is working for you and what’s not, so a change of plans may be necessary.

Fix Generational Patterns

Scientific advances in DNA and brain studies show that generational trauma is a real problem that many people suffer from. Addiction and mental illnesses are some of the most common problems that pass from parent to child.

For example, if you have an addiction to alcohol because one of your parents was an alcoholic, your therapist might help you to break the cycle of addiction. Often you can do this by learning how to cope with your problems differently.

A benefit of learning how to break the cycle of trauma or addiction is that you are much less likely to pass those problems on to your children or grandchildren. If they have issues, then you can also teach them the coping mechanisms that you learned.

Navigate Important Life Decisions

Even if you feel like you don’t need therapy, you can always use a therapist if you are going through a rough time in your life. Sometimes an outside perspective can be a great way to look at a situation without attaching your feelings to it.

If a decision ends up triggering your anxiety or depression, then it might be a good idea to see a therapist as well. He or she can help you identify what exactly makes you nervous or scared, and go from there.

For couples that might be going through a divorce or a move together, marriage counseling is ideal. The therapist will often talk to both parties separately to gauge the relationship dynamic and figure out the best solution.

Marriage and Family Therapy Can Be Beneficial

It is up to you to decide how to proceed with therapy. You can have an ongoing relationship with your therapist or need a specific number of sessions to resolve an issue. Marriage and family therapy is a great way to heal.

Want to learn more about how you can improve your mental health with a variety of different methods? Take a look at our Health section for more information.