Family Therapy – When a Family Member is Sick
When a family member is sick it puts the whole family system out of balance. The good news is – this can be used as an opportunity for the entire family to heal. In this article, we take a look at Family Therapy. They believe that when somebody is sick the family is looked upon as being in need of repair. The system doesn’t only refer to your family, it can refer to as the relationships you have at work, with friends, and in organizations, you are involved in. Please realize that you cannot change the behaviors of other people, that is their job. What you can do is change your responses to them.
Patterns From The Past
Families generally follow patterns from past generations. Blindly following these patterns may get you into trouble. Clubbing somebody over the head to get your way may have worked in the dark ages but will cause a world of trouble in today’s society. Therefore, effort must be made on you becoming aware of the limiting behaviors that have been handed down to you and changing them for the better.
A family system is sick when members judge one another, try to be right, use bullying tactics, or run and hide. It is important to understand that if you try to make yourself right, it makes the other person wrong. Thus, you have a faulty family system.
Here is a little clue: When you judge another person basically you are judging yourself. How would you know the other person is stupid for example unless you too are stupid? My father told me when I point my finger at someone, three fingers were pointing back to me.
Now If a family member is causing themselves harm – take swift action! Pull them aside and honestly communicate with them one on one. If this is difficult jot out on a scratch pad what you want to talk about beforehand. Then use that to refer back to as needed. When the family communicates to you about what they are going through, effort must be taken on your part to hear what they are saying. Get off your position and the need to be right. Your righteousness may make matters worse. Repeat back to them what you heard them say to demonstrate that what they say really matters to you. When communicating back to them, stay centered and calm. The message will only be received when it doesn’t feel like a threat.
Communication can be challenging when somebody is angry, threatening, or under the influence of a substance. If this is the case, ask the person when there is a better time to communicate about this when you can understand one another.
There are volumes that can be written about Family Therapy and the techniques therapists use. Working with the entire family is the most dynamic therapy around because each person in a family is so dynamic. Changing the Family system can be difficult. For years, each member has to agree to the stated and unstated rules of the family but will vary in their degree of conforming.
Often people will conform to keep the peace but may give up so much personal power that they lose themselves. They also have resentments, or may break down emotionally, or may turn to substances to numb out, or will simply run away. If you think you can distance yourself from your family by moving thousands of miles away think again. The system was taught to you, is embedded in you, and it takes a real effort to rid yourself of the subconscious rules embedded within. Think about how you currently deal with stress, communicate, vote, and handle money. Now how did your family of origin do the deal with the same?
Family Therapy can actually be enjoyable. It is nice to discover the little quirks you all do together, discover how rigid or flexible the family is, and what you all believe is the meaning of life. Many of the family rules that we hold as the Gospel truth may be outdated and in need of amending. Often exercises will be given as homework, and sometimes these exercises can be fun. Let dad cook the meal for a change and have members eat the meal with their opposite hand.
The Emotional Bank Account
When the parents’ relationship becomes unstable, often a third person is drawn into the relationship – like another family member or a friend. Therapists help the married couple learn how to cope with upset and work issues out together. It may entail making “deposits” into the Emotional Bank Account and of course, this is done by displays of kindness to one another.
Each Family has a tremendous impact on members with a less developed sense of “self”. Helping members have a stronger sense of self and learn how to voice their point of view can help the person and the family grow.
One final dynamic to consider is whether the family has an open or closed system. Is your family adaptable to change and open to new members entering? Or, is your family a closed system having strict and rigid rules. Only clings to each other and allows a few changes and finds difficulty in accepting new members?
Since your particular family system has been repeated for years and years, this is why it is so important to work on establishing a new family system through weekly therapy to establish new more healthy patterns.
Compassionate Care is Always Available
There are many more tools and strategies you can use in your pursuit of happiness. Here is where we come in. Contact us at Basic Steps Mental Health and let us support and educate you on this journey back to your loving heart center. Imagine living a heart-centered life, regardless of what is happening externally. We’d love to be of help.
For 25 years, Dr. Scott Alpert, the clinical director of Basic Steps Mental Health, has treated over 7,000 people with mental health and addiction problems, using a Psychological approach that mixes and matches ten of the top approaches used in the industry.