When I explain to parents that I work with them directly to help their child’s mental health or other struggles, rather than with their loved ones, they wonder “why me?”
“Why am I going to counselling when it is my kid that has the problems? Wouldn’t it be better that they meet with a professional and get help?”
Facing your child’s struggles or mental health challenges is exhausting. It makes perfect sense that you would want someone who is trained in mental health to “take the wheel” because you are already feeling hopeless and helpless. You want a mental health counsellor to take over because nothing you do seems to be working.
It’s only natural that as a parent you’d worry about making a mistake – saying the wrong thing and making your child’s mental health worse.
But, I want you to know that you matter. Your strong bond with your kids matters. You are an integral and helpful part of your loved one’s healing process.
Because I believe in the power of attachment and secure relationships, I believe you are best positioned to be influential in your child’s life.
With Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) – the goal is not doing more but being supported to do things differently. As an EFFT therapist I want to show you how to be the primary support for your loved one in addition to other professional assistance your loved one may still need.
4 Reasons why parents/caregivers involvement is so important:
1. Parents/caregivers have a strong attachment/connection with their kids and this relationship, even at its worst, is like a very thick strong rope connecting you. The relationship between a therapist and a client, in comparison, would be like a string. Consider this, often years later when people look back at their past therapist – they may remember vaguely aspects of what they looked like, maybe mix up their official professional title, and occasionally their name; but they will never forget their parent’s name.
2. If you consider how often you spend time with your child or teen, considering you live in the same house compared to school staff or a therapist, you have a real advantage. Especially when kids and teens are struggling with mental health issues, they need more intensive support than professional services can typically provide. Parents, equipped with advanced skills from therapy can support their loved ones with struggles in real time and make a reld difference.
“Research has shown that what causes caregiver distress and burden and what is most detrimental to the mental health of parents and caregivers is to witness their loved one’s suffering and feel ineffectiveness and helpless”. Dr. Adele LaFrance
3. When families become involved they can stand together for change. It relieves the focus off of one person being “the problem”. It helps relieve a sense of brokenness and the feelings of blame or shame that come up when a family member feels like it’s all their fault. Research shows that alleviating these strong negative feelings keeps people in therapy longer leading to more positive outcomes.
4. We know that when one person in a family has a serious or chronic medical or mental health conditions this impacts on how the whole family functions. Research by Dr. Lafrance shows that when family members are engaged in the recovery process that the outcomes are better for everyone.
For all these reasons, we want to work with you, the parent, to equip you, encourage you and teach you how to (re) build a strong bond with your child or teen. I believe wholeheartedly that you are the very person best positioned to help them.
This video by Dr. Adele LaFrance speaks to parents and caregivers about the “why” they are such an important part of their loved one’s healing from mental health issues. Dr. Lafrance is the co-developer of Emotion Focused Family Therapy – an evidence based approach that primarily involves equipping parents with advanced skills to be the best supporters of their loved one’s progress towards wellness. Dr. Lafrance is also the developer of Emotion Focused School Support and Emotion Focused Health Care Support. I encourage you to watch Dr. Lafrance’s full video below – as she goes into more detail about the reasons your involvement is so vital and offers some information about how to get started!
If you’d like help learning how to parent more effectively, build stronger bonds in your family and stand together against whatever challenges you may be going through right now, please schedule a free phone consultation with Lois.