Being a part of a family is hard. Trying to coexist with multiple people who all have different interests and ideas can be challenging even if you all love each other unconditionally. Knowing this, it’s not a stretch to think that almost all families could benefit from family therapy, regardless of whether they’re dealing with a big issue at the moment or not. However, the idea of going to therapy can be intimidating to a lot of people. So if you and your family have considered going to family therapy but you’re still unsure about what to expect, here are three things you can do to help prepare for this situation.
Finding The Right Therapist
While finding the right therapist for just one person can be tough, this problem can be even harder to deal with when you’re trying to find a therapist who will fit with your entire family. One way you can vet therapists before you actually make an appointment to see them is to request a short consult where you can visit and feel each other out. Amanda L. Chan, a contributor to the Huffington Post, writes that many therapists are willing to do a short phone consult with potential patients to see if they will be a good match for each other. If you’re able to have your whole family on the phone with the therapist, you’ll be able to see if anyone has any reservations about working with this therapist before you get started.
Have Realistic Expectations
To truly get the most out of your experience with family therapy, you’re going to have to go into the process with realistic expectations. If you’re thinking that you and your family will be able to meet with a therapist for one session and suddenly have all your problems resolved, you’re going to be very disappointed. Instead, Steve Bressert, a doctor and contributor to PsychCentral.com, explains that family therapy is a process that is meant to help you and your family members find tools for fixing your own problems, both in the present and in the future. This requires an investment of both time and emotions, which won’t come from just a session or two.
Consider Your Strengths and Weaknesses
If you’re unsure about where to begin or what to speak about with your family therapist during your first visit, the Mayo Clinic recommends pondering on your family’s strengths and weaknesses before you have your first session. Some of these strengths could include things like your love for one another or openness. On the other hand, some potential weaknesses might include poor communication or lack of trust. If you take the time to think about these things before you visit with your therapist, you might not feel so pressured or put on the spot when questions regarding these issues are brought up.
For those who are unsure about what starting family therapy will mean or look like, use the tips mentioned above to help you feel prepared to start this journey.