Family Treatment

All of us require and seek intimate relationships that strengthen, restore, and sustain us.  When they function properly, families can provide members with vital experiences of being cherished and of belonging to an admired group of others. When interactions between family members have become strained, leaving members feeling depleted, angry, or excessively self-focused, family therapy is a valuable mode of treatment.
 
Establishing Reliability and Trust
 
In treatment with the whole family, or in smaller subsets of members, I strive to develop a therapeutic relationship with each person as we explore, clarify, and understand their subjective experience, especially their reactions to each other.  As treatment progresses, family members begin to feel increasingly secure and comfortable expressing in a caring way positive and negative feelings toward each other that might have felt too awkward or risky to share before.  These exchanges are often new experiences that gradually displace existing patterns of discord or avoidance. 
 
In family sessions I listen for themes that reflect family members' underlying developmental needs and desires and I try to investigate and make sense of them from each member's point of view.  We attend especially to experiences of vulnerable feelings--often disguised--involving longings, disappointments, and hurt and discover their role in misunderstandings, resentments, and conflicts among family members.
 
Enhancing Mutual Responsiveness
 
We jointly investigate formative relational experiences of each member of the family and the impact they have had on members' current experiences of each other.  We also look at the manner in which earlier experiences have shaped each person's expectations about how others will relate to them.  This provides for all family members a more complete, appreciative understanding of each person's unique, reflexive patterns of thinking and feeling and behaving.  This expanded awareness fosters caring responsiveness among family members that reorganizes and strengthens each person's sense of themselves.  In this way, treatment vitalizes a family's capacity to reliably provide for each other experiences of feeling valued and loved.