Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

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Family Affair: Tips to Make Family Counseling a Success

When it comes to family counseling, it takes a lot more to be successful than just showing up to an appointment. You have to truly want to be there and actively work on your issues and be willing to put time and effort into making it happen. Here are a few tips to help get the results you and your family need.

Make A Commitment

This sounds simple, but it’s actually one of the hardest things about family counseling. Your problems didn’t appear overnight and they’re not going to be rectified that quickly either. Family therapy takes time, even more than individual counseling. 

Unlike individual therapy, family counseling requires all of you to work together toward one common goal. Unfortunately, the goal is not always known right away and time is required to figure it out. Commit to attending regular sessions for at least six months and then evaluate the results you’re seeing.

Don’t Talk Divorce During Counseling

Family counseling should he something you do because you want to fix your relationships. Sure, there will still be fights and arguments as that’s normal in every relationship, but it’s important to let cooler heads prevail. 

Even if you don’t have a lot of hope for relationship moving forward, know that therapy has repaired marriages that are worse than whatever it is you’re going through. If you’re committed to fixing things, you need to understand that constant threats of divorce only make each of you focus on the looming end of your relationship, making visions of a future with one another nearly impossible.

Keep Your Expectations Realistic

If you’ve ever thought that people had unrealistic expectations for what happens in a marriage, you’d be blown away by the expectations others have about family counseling. Too often, one or both spouses focus on the fact that they’re significant other is not making them happy, or doing what they want them to do. Don’t forget it works both ways. If you think counseling is going to fix the other party, that simply isn’t how things work. Perhaps your family counseling is for a member who’s recovering from addiction. In this case you have to remember that while an addict will have to do a lot of work on their own, you’re also required to make changes at home and be able to welcome them into a safe space. (find further information: 449 Recovery)

By keeping your expectations realistic and knowing there’s going to be some give and take from both parties, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s at stake and your role in the new relationship.

Regardless of your reasons for attending family counseling, you should be proud of the fact that you’re both trying fix what is broken instead of throwing in the towel and giving up for good. If you go into therapy with an open mind, good things can and will happen.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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