In the Hawaiian culture,
there is a wonderful family ritual called "O-ho Pono",
which means "to make right." Whenever
someone in the family is sick, depressed or in need of help, the
whole family gets together to talk about what each of them can do
to help heal the person and, therefore, the family. Each takes some
responsibility for the problem, and therefore, responsibility for
the solution. When one person in a family is effected by an illness,
physical, emotional or behavioral, every family member is effected.
Because you care about that person and you live together,
your health and well-being are interdependent.
Do you have a child that is unhappy or failing in school or using
drugs? Are you triangulated in family conflict between your parents,
siblings, or in-laws? Are you in a step family situation, with lots
of fighting at the dinner table and you're feeling like the "wicked
stepmother". Are you divorced from your children's father and
having conflict over parenting?
Family counseling can
Research Shows! In a recent study according to
the Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, after receiving
treatment, almost 90% of clients report an improvement in their
emotional health . . . nearly two-thirds report an improvement in
their overall physical health . . . the majority of clients report
an improvement in their functioning at work, and over three-fourths
of those receiving marital/couples or family therapy report an improvement
in the couple relationship. When a child is the identified patient,
parents report that their child's behavior improved in 73.7% of
the cases, their ability to get along with other children significantly
improved and there was improved performance in school.
What is Family Therapy?
Family counseling looks at the patterns of behavior between family
members and outside agencies or schools that influence the individual's
presenting problem. Family counseling may involve just the person
or the entire family and possibly even extended family members.
Family therapy treats the set of relationships in which the person
is imbedded to resolve a wide range of serious clinical problems
including depression, anxiety, individual psychological problems
or parenting problems.
What is the Role of the Family Therapist?
The therapist is a compassionate and observing guide who joins with
each person, validating their strengths and their role in the family.
S/he highlights the problematic relationships and collaborates with
the family to set appropriate goals for the resolution of the problem.
Each family member works on their piece of the problem opening to
new solutions. The family therapist respects and supports the parental
hierarchy in the family, as well as the individual needs of the
children. S/he draws boundaries around the parental relationship,
helping the parents to set effective household rules and work together
in parenting. If necessary, divorced parents are seen in separate
sessions with their children to resolve child problems.
3 Approaches to Step-parenting that Usually Don't
• You and your ex- screwed up these kids and now I'm going
to fix them.
• We're an instant family with instant love.
• Why don't you get your kids to . . .? or, Do you know what
your kids did?
Some Hints About What Might Work:
• Beware of triangulated communication. Use one-to-one communication
• As a step-parent, you don't have the parental power to "fix"
his kids, you can be a friend or and some day, maybe an aunt, if
• Take your parenting disagreements behind closed doors and
present a united front with the kids.
• Build up credits in the relationship bank before you make
Everyday Blessings, The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting.
Jon Kabat-Zinn and Myla Kabat-Zinn
Parents Who Love Too Much, Jane Nelsen, Ed.D and Cheryl Erwin
Effective Parents, Responsible Children, Robert Ayers, and Robert Eyers
(out of print)
The Co-dependent Parent, Barbara Cottman Becnel
A Fine Young Man (about ages 10-17,) Michael Gurian
Teaching your Children Values, Linda and Richard Eyre
Necessary Losses, Judith Vorst
How to Win as a Step-Family, Emily B. Visher, Ph.D and John S. Visher,
Old Loyalties, New ties, Emily Visher & John Visher
DON'T WAIT, CALL NOW!
A Family Counselor Marriage and Family Counseling from GLORY JORDAN LCSW, DCSW, CHT Director and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Board Certified Diplomate