How Family Counseling Fosters ConnectionReading Time: 4 minutes
Separating from family in order to create an independent life is an important part of becoming a young adult. However, family relationships—both past and present—continue to have an enormous influence on young adult mental health even after they leave home. That’s why family counseling is one of the most powerful healing approaches for young adults who are struggling with anxiety, depression, and co-occurring issues.
In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of marriage and family therapists is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2018 and 2028. This projection reflects the increasing popularity of the integrated care model, in which family therapists or family counselors work in conjunction with recovery counselors and individual therapists to support clients and their families.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of marriage and family therapists is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2018 and 2028.
For young adults, healing disruptions in the family system can be key to recovery. Often, mental health and substance abuse challenges create family disagreements, communication barriers, and lack of trust among family members. Hence, participation in the various types of family counseling can strengthen and repair the relationship between parents and their young adult children, allowing young adults to feel safe in turning to parents for support.
Types of Family Therapy
Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy that deals with intimate problems within a familial unit. As a result, therapeutic support improves communication between family members. Therapists use different family counseling techniques to accomplish family therapy goals, including the following family therapy models:
- Structural family therapy, which analyzes the family structure as a whole
- Transgenerational family therapy, which looks at the effect of age differences in familial conflict
- Strategic therapy, which focuses on the patterns of behavior and the relationship between members of a family
- Attachment-Based Family Therapy, which seeks to repair rifts in the parent-child connection in order to rebuild trust.
According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, close to 90 percent of clients report an improvement in their emotional health as a result of individual and/or family counseling.
What to Expect in Family Counseling
In family therapy, licensed family therapists or family counselors meet with individual members, the family as a whole, or a combination. This allows each person to express their concerns, and also supports the family in communicating with each other as a group. Self-expression and positive communication techniques foster empowerment within the family, and support each family member’s emotional development.
For example, if one young adult child suffers from depression, which is manifesting as a substance use disorder or eating disorder, a family counselor can help parents and siblings understand how to best help. Moreover, family therapy can help parents to see how their behavior can either hinder or benefit the well-being of their adult child. Furthermore, by looking at relationship patterns, therapists can identify what will help their clients achieve their family therapy goals.
The number of therapy sessions needed varies according to the situation. Short-term family counseling services include about 12 sessions. However, for more serious issues, more sessions may be needed in order to meet family therapy goals.
Divorce and Family Therapy Goals
According to 2020 projections and statistics, 45 percent of marriages will end in divorce. Marriage and family counseling can help couples work through problems. But even when couples decide to divorce, therapy can still be helpful. In these cases, family therapy goals can focus on building an amicable relationship after the split.
Moreover, divorce doesn’t just affect parents and young children. Young people in their late teens and early 20s are also emotionally and psychologically impacted by divorce. Hence, family therapy can support them in repairing relationships with their parents that might have been disrupted by the issues that led up to the split. Furthermore, family therapy goals might include healing disagreements and distrust as a result of a contentious divorce.
The Attachment-Based Family Therapy Model
At Newport Institute, family counseling is key to our treatment approach. All of our family therapists are trained in the groundbreaking Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) model, with supervision by ABFT co-founder Guy S. Diamond, PhD, who created the method with Gary M. Diamond and Suzanne A. Levy. Dr. Diamond has worked closely with our clinical staff to establish ABFT as the foundation of our approach to teen treatment and family counseling.
Newport is the first residential treatment program to adopt Attachment-Based Family Therapy as our family therapy model and fully integrate Attachment-Based Family Therapy activities into our clinical programming. ABFT works by rebuilding trust within the parent-child relationship—providing a solid foundation that promotes authentic connection and a more harmonious family relationship. This type of family counseling provides a clear path to achieving what both parents and their young adult children want most: closer, more meaningful relationships with one another. As a result, young adults feel safe turning to their parents for support—and that leads to improvements in their mental health and reductions in suicide risk.
The Benefits of Family Counseling
There are many benefits of family counseling. For one, family therapy can change the way families communicate. In addition, family counseling services can improve the quality of each family member’s relationships with the others in the family unit. Overall, family counseling supports sustainable recovery for young adults, because they focus on rebuilding parent-child connections. Therefore, young adults are more likely to turn to parents for support if they are struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, or suicidal thoughts.
To learn more about how the experts at Newport Institute can help you to rebuild family connections and repair rifts in the parent-child relationship, please contact us today.