Your First Family Therapy Session: What to Expect
Attending your first family therapy session may not be as thrilling as, say, Six Flags, but the long-term and positive effects outlast any excitement gained from a roller coaster ride. Better yet, it is an effective tool for re-opening pathways of communication that may have become frayed or closed due to misunderstanding, hurt, stress, or anxiety.
Contrary to what is commonly seen on HBO, family therapy is not a place where family members are determined to sit around and yell at each other. It is not meant to accuse, to get a last word in, to throw blame at the parents for their child’s poor behavior, or vice versa. It is instead a constructive tool for fostering healthy relationships and learning how to apply effective coping mechanisms for dealing with conflict and challenging situations.
Your first session will last approximately an hour, during which your therapist will ask questions about you, your life, and your child’s life. This information is helpful in developing an initial assessment of your situation.
Questions that may be asked include:
- Why you sought therapy?
- Your personal history and current situation?
- Areas of concern you have regarding your family’s treatment of each other, your child’s behavior in school, and any stress found in the household?
- What you would like to work on and where you want to go from here?
The methods used in family therapy can vary greatly and every member of the family may not necessarily have to attend every single session. Some or all of the following will probably take place:
- Your therapist will at some point have you all together for at least part of the session. This is both to hear everyone’s point of view of the problem and to see how everyone interacts with each other and what roles you play.
- You therapist may choose to talk with family members separately.
- Your therapist will have rules for attending Family Counseling, such as confidentiality of information, or who needs to attend ongoing sessions and who may not. These will be discussed during the first session.
- Your therapist will review your family’s current communication abilities, such as how you express emotion and thoughts, and offer productive ways to work through conflicts and issues.
What’s important during your first session is how you feel afterwards. You should walk away with the opinion that your therapist is caring and competent and that they are ready and able to help you get your family back on track. You should feel hopeful, supported, and ready to start deepening family connections and long-term healing.
Family therapy can help you pinpoint the actions that contributed to a family breakdown and offer strategies to correct those actions. Your therapist is there to help you see where you’re at, discuss where you want to be, and work with you and your family on how you can get there.You can schedule your first Family Counseling session with us on our contact page.