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Family Therapy, Entering A Child’s World

mental-health-family-therapy-counseling-sessionFamily therapy is one way of entering a child’s world.  Often when a child is being seen because of emotional or behavioral problems, family therapy is recommended.  What you might not know is that the child is often not the real problem, but a symptom of the problem.  One way of seeing this is by observing the process of family therapy.

Parents often say they are stumped.  They say that they don’t know what is causing the child’s problems.  Family therapy can reveal hidden problems by entering the child’s world.  Sometimes there is a big secret that the family is concealing from the outside world.  It is can be symbolized as “the elephant in the room”.  For example, there frequently are problems between the parents who may even be on the verge of a divorce or one or both of the parents is or are having an affair.  The child or the identified patient can also be the scapegoat.  Actually there maybe another child in the family who has bigger problems than the child with the referring problem.  Often the child calls attention to him or herself by acting up distracting attention from the real problem.

Not only what is said in family therapy is important, but also what is conveyed by bodily positions, facial expressions, and gestures is important.  It is noticed and commented upon.  Where and by whom a person or child sits is noteworthy.  The volume and the amount someone talks is also of concern.  Whether or not someone responds to another’s comments or questions is noted.  Whether or not a person’s facial expression is conveying something different than what they ares saying can be worthy of interpretation.  Family therapy is fertile ground for exploring and entering a child’s world.

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