What is Family Dysfunction?
It is common for families to go through difficult times. There is no such thing as a “perfect” family, or one that never experiences any challenges. Families are complex systems made up of long-term, complex relationships. The loss of a loved one, health challenges, trauma, and financial difficulties can significantly impact family dynamics, relationships, routines, communication, and problem-solving abilities, which, left unattended, can lead to chronic family dysfunction.
Some of the common reasons why families may experience difficulties may include:
- Marital challenges (e.g., separation, divorce)
- Financial concerns
- Traumatic experiences (e.g., abuse, natural disaster, etc.)
- Mental illnesses
- Health challenges
- Loss of a loved one
While family challenges can pass on their own, most of the time they require purposeful attention and involvement of all family members to resolve difficulties and move forward in a positive way.
Signs that Something is Wrong
There are many different signs that can indicate that a family is struggling. These may include:
- Negativity and/or criticism in communication
- Lack of encouragement, and positive communication
- Non-existent communication (avoidance/ignoring)
- Frequent, non-resolved arguments
- Children being forced to take sides in arguments
- Opposition or defiance from children/teenagers
- Physical, verbal, and/or psychological abuse
Treating Family Dysfunction
Family counselling by a trained mental health professional may help to resolve the challenges your family is facing, improve communication, strengthen relationships, and build resilience in the face of stressors. Family counselling involves bringing together all members of the family, in a collaborative partnership with the counsellor, in a safe, caring, and confidential environment.
Family counselling may be able to help in a variety of ways, including:
- Identifying the common concerns and challenges
- Identifying differing needs of all family members
- Resolving the concerns and challenges
- Building positive and effective coping strategies for future stress and challenges that may arise
- Improving communication
- Forging stronger positive bonds between family members
- Building resilience
An Encompas care manager can help you and your family find a mental health professional who is a familial and cultural fit, to help restore your family to happiness.