Sometimes a new diagnosis for your child may release certain feelings: guilt, shame, embarrassment, or regret. We might tend to push these feelings aside and focus on the “main concern,” that being our child. Getting counselling or therapy help for our children is great, yet, this is not necessarily the only strategy for our family’s overall health and improvement.
Family systems theory points to the interconnectedness of all family members. We don’t always feel connected so how is it family members are connected? This “umbrella” theory suggests that we are connected by the vast array of rules and roles members have in the family and also by the emotional intensity so apparent in family relationships. Following this, one person’s diagnosis then impact us all, thus, is actually kind of a diagnosis for the whole family.
This is a very positive and optimistic perspective that implies a change in one part of the system or family member will actually change all members. A difficult concept given all the negative press or thinking that states you can’t change other people. False! According to the science behind family systems theory we can. In therapy or counselling, when one person comes in to improve (thoughts, feelings and behaviours), we can expect to gradually also see a change in others in the family.
Rather than just wanting one person to get help, we may want to include as many family members as possible in the counselling or coaching process. Thinking systemically requires us to acknowledge that a health diagnosis, major event or situation can and will have an impact on the entire family.
We at Jeff Packer MSW & Associates Inc. encourage all family members to join counselling sessions when and where appropriate, while also understanding one person can begin the process.
- By addressing the impact of the diagnosis for the entire family, it provides a better understanding of each member and the role they play in their family system.
- The more family members work together on solutions, the faster and more effectively we can adjust and/or improve.
- Increasing the communication of the diagnosis can create a stronger support system for the person diagnosed.
- Because family members have a profound impact on each other’s thoughts and feelings, learning how to cope with the negative thoughts and difficult feelings will create unity and promote teamwork.
Invite as many family members as you want, yet be ok to start the change process on your own. Remember, change is happening all the time. Our decisions influence the direction of change; either toward better or worse relationships. To change for the better... contact us today !