During a recent visit to Disney’s California Adventure I had the chance to see a small parade with multiple characters from the Incredibles movies. Watching them got me thinking about super powers that families have and one thing that occurred to me is the remarkable power of family therapy. I began to think about how this often underutilized tool could be used to help families become super heroes in terms of their ability to connect and develop healthy relationships. Like the Incredibles, who in the beginning of the movie resented the mundane life of their white collar jobs and suburban lifestyle, oftentimes individuals in the families come with their own personal resentments and baggage that they bring to the table. Don’t fear if this is you because many families have some sort of dysfunction or something that keeps them from wholeness. This does not have to be forever though and family therapy can be a tool to help develop such things as better communication skills, healthy boundaries, improve family relationships and dynamics, provide strength and coping tools for families, and support families to develop problem-solving skills.
Now, I know that many of you are asking what family therapy is and how can it really become a super power for me?
According to positive psychology family therapy is a form of therapy used to address family issues. It looks at an individual in terms of the entire family with the goal being to help develop healthy relationships within the family unit. How many of us have struggled with seeking healthy connections with our teens, toddlers, or spouses? How often have our own life stresses pushed us to unintentionally take things out on our family? Much like Bob or Mr. Incredible who ends up getting dismissed from his job because he gets upset with his boss and then has to figure out what to do to feed his family. Many of us are struggling in some way with our families and family therapy can be our way out.
Okay. So now you might be beginning to think that family therapy is for you. It seems like such a helpful tool and you want to add this superpower to your family. “But,” you wonder, “how can I afford family therapy?
The good thing is that many psychotherapists work with insurance companies or utilize a sliding scale that makes the cost of the session based on your family size and annual income.
Now we know what family therapy is and how you can afford it, but there’s one last question that is keeping you from fully using your super power and being unleashed like Bob becoming Mr. Incredible. How do you find a good therapist?
You can ask your family physician for recommendations, ask a trusted friend for recommendations, or search for a provider that accepts your insurance. The most important thing to remember is that you and your family feel comfortable with the therapist. This might take a couple of meetings to determine if it is a good fit.
Once you have found a good fit for you and your family, you are on your way to using family therapy as your family’s secret power.