July 29, 2020 – “It takes a village to raise a child.” – African Proverb
No one comes into the world alone. No one is created in a vacuum. We develop in the world through our interactions with our caretakers, loved ones, friends, and family members. These interactions shape the people we become and the people we become shape the world.
Enter the family system; enter family therapy.
While all therapy models respect the agency and autonomy of individuals, family therapy takes a different perspective on clients’ presenting concerns by honoring the family context within which they developed.
Presenting problems are viewed in relation to how they organically developed within family systems. Family therapists understand that problems lie within the patterns of interactions themselves and not within individuals. Focus is shifted from blaming problems in a family on individual members to a more effective and helpful perspective; the truth that all family members are a major part of the solution. If your family is affected by the presence of addiction or mental illness, family therapy may offer some reprieve.
Family therapy provides an opportunity for families to connect in a manner that heals when the presence of mental or addictive illness in the family has hurt. Family members learn new skills to relate to one another more effectively and learn how best to support each other. Family therapy creates a space in which family members unite as a team against the illness itself.
When a potted plant begins to wither, bringing it back to a garden with rich soil full of nutrients will aid its growth exponentially. Family therapy helps cultivate that rich soil.
In the wise words of Malcom X, “When I is replaced by we, illness becomes wellness.”
Written by Sam Bakovsky, Primary Therapist at Water Gap Wellness, specializing in family relations