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The Essence of Family Connections
We all have a family. Some families are biologically related (our birth family and extended relatives), some are legal (marriage, adoption), and some are our families of choice. Our families may look very different from one another, but they serve the same purpose --- our development of identity, our source of learning and values, and ideally a loving and supportive connection with others. Since we all belong to some type of family, whether we are presently engaged with them or distant, many of the problems we encounter throughout life relate to how we were raised in our families, how we are currently functioning in our families, as well as our expectations in our current families/relationships. In most cases, it is a combination of all of these. It is difficult to separate the person from the family.
The Marriage and Family Therapists at Sierra Counseling and Neurotherapy see individuals (adults and children), couples, and families. We also see divorced or separated couples who want to parent together in a healthy manner or who simply want to forgive the past and move forward with a better understanding of themselves in relation to others. We work from a “systems” approach, in other words, individuals are the fabric of a family, and as such, what affects the individual also affects the family. If one person in the family makes changes, those changes are bound to affect all members of the family.
A Holistic Approach to Relational Well-Being
Marriage and Family counseling helps people understand how their emotions are shaped by their families. Learning to integrate those feelings, beliefs, and thoughts into their lives today is accomplished through values clarification, improving communication, learning emotional regulation and anger management skills, identifying problem-solving and decision-making styles, and improving parenting skills. If a person is emotionally distant from family, exploring past relationships can change one’s understanding and perception of family and “self-in-family,” thereby enabling the person to live a positive future unencumbered by the past. We can’t change something unless we are aware of it. Therefore, an important part of counseling is identifying and exploring the underlying feelings that frequently drive our behaviors and interfere with logical thinking.
Sometimes we find ourselves “between” families/relationships. Marriage and Family counseling guides a person to reflect on self and past relationships, determine what changes are needed, and provides support during the transition to another more suitable relationship.