Family Counselling Centre
Pre-marital counseling is helpful for many couples who want an overview of challenges that face them once they marry. Premarital counselling can help ensure that you and your partner have a strong, healthy relationship — giving you a better chance for a stable and satisfying marriage. Through premarital counseling, a couple can explore their dreams, their fears, their differences, and come to a greater understanding of what is sourcing their choices and behaviors.
Family therapy is a style of psychotherapy designed to identify family patterns that contribute to a behavior disorder or psychological distress and help family members break those habits. Family therapy involves discussion and problem-solving sessions with the family. Some of these sessions may be as a group, in couples, or one on one. In family therapy, the fabric of interpersonal relationships is examined and, ideally, communication is strengthened within the family.
Often a family in overwhelm comes for family therapy to make sense of the various distresses experienced (and dealt with differently) by family members. Family therapy can be effective when a collective trauma or stress has been experienced by the family. Examples in my experience have included death of a sibling, separation of parents, a car accident involving family members and a terminal illness or progressive disease suffered by a family member.
Post-marital counseling programs offer couples an effective process of inquiry and discovery that consists of:
- Clarifying your vision of married life together
- Setting clear goals as a couple
- Agreeing on the important values with which you will live your lives
- Taking a compassionate look at every subject that research shows couples argue and separate over. Including, among others, money, children, work, family/in-laws, physical health/wellness, sex, home life/chores and religion/spiritual life
Divorce and Separation
Divorce and separation present some of the most stressful and challenging times of our lives. Many couples have tried counselling before choosing to separate. Counselling (alongside legal advice) however, can still assist you as an individual, couple or family, with the emotional and practical challenges and consequences of your decision to separate.
Counselling helps create a healthy and nurturing family dynamic so all family members experience the family unit as more of a safe haven from stress, rather than a major source of it.
In my experience, parenting support is part and parcel of a general counselling relationship. Counsellor assessment of parents in distress generally look at ways a parent can support themselves better. Besides refining parenting skills, these include: developing a support network, finding time for self, improving partner communication and team parenting efforts, improving self-organising and stress management. Areas of self-care and lifestyle factors are also looked at. E.g. developing satisfying interests, fitness and dietary care, and financial/career issues.
Grief and Loss
Grief is a many-sided experience, affecting people quite differently. Grief can be said to be both the turmoil and rebalancing processes that accompany the experience of loss. Many other descriptions of grief and grieving are equally valid, just as are our many different styles of grieving. Grief can experienced not only over death of a loved one, but also a result of many types of losses. eg: One’s reputation; one’s physical faculties or mental abilities; a relationship; a job; a home; a culture; a dependable faith or trust; one’s health.
When we lose something precious to us there is suddenly a vacuum or gap in how we thought of ourselves and how we previously constructed our world or what we presumed our world to be. This sudden absence or missing element creates mental and emotional challenges, so we work (consciously and unconsciously) to accommodate the loss in an emerging new picture of our world. For a period our world will be unstable, unknown or meaningless, until our sense of self and self-in-the-world, restabilizes or at least becomes familiar in the post-loss landscape, both within ourselves and outside ourselves. At a time of grief, periods of both aloneness as well as intense personal support are necessary.