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Finding the Right Therapist for Your Family

Joanne finally picked up the home phone, realizing this was the most difficult call she had ever made. She was about to ask for help in the one area of her life that she’d thought she had held together: her family.

At the last appointment, Jake’s psychiatrist mentioned marriage and family therapy programs but she had felt too angry (or was it embarrassed?) to call for further information. After all, this was Jake’s problem, wasn’t it? How could therapy for the whole family do any good when Jake was the one causing arguments, getting in trouble at school, and sneaking out at night doing who knows what with who knows whom?  Family therapy techniques sounded so… intrusive. The therapist would probably pick apart her parenting and tell her she had done everything wrong.

So why was she finally changing her mind? Strangely enough it was because of Jake’s little sister Jenny. Yesterday afternoon, Jenny had asked, “Why are you and daddy so mad at Jake all the time?” In that moment, Joanne realized Jenny had not been immune to the turmoil surrounding their efforts to help Jake. Somehow she knew that her family could not get better if they stuck to the problem-focused idea that their only hope rested in “fixing” one person. Whether she liked it or not, this was a family problem.

Family therapy is a core mental health profession. It is brief, solution-focused, and it focuses on specific, attainable, therapeutic goals. Joanne’s decision to seek help for her family was very serious and choosing the right family therapist was important. She started with her insurance company and researched possible providers who could help. After consulting with a trusted family physician, she made the appointment.

When you decide to seek help for your family it is important to familiarize yourself with the different mental health professions. Remember, it’s okay to keep looking if your family is not making progress. Choose the professional and the family therapy center you feel the best fit so that you can receive the right help.

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