While most families deeply love and care for one another, conflict among family members can rise to debilitating proportions. Some stressors that trigger family conflict are acute, such as loss of a job or a loved one; others are chronic and long-term, such as medical or psychiatric illness of a family member. Many families have not learned the skills to communicate effectively with one another and to manage conflict, and, even if they have, often these skills are inaccessible in the highly charged emotional environment of the home.
Effective family therapy allows each family member to be heard, and teaches skills in mindfulness, validation, self-regulation, and healthy expression of emotions. The overarching goal of family therapy is to provide a family with tools and a safe space to practice new skills, so that family members may reconnect, appreciate one another again, and go on to function well for years to come.
Conflict in a marriage or other long-term relationship, as in any close partnership, is inevitable. However, while in some cases it is an opportunity for growth, learning, and deepening connection, in others conflict escalates, causes a greater divide, and leaves each partner feeling isolated and resentful. Amid the pressures of parenting, financial stress, and/or conflict between one another’s families of origin, it is all too easy for the latter result to prevail.
Many couples have not learned the skills to effectively manage conflict with one another, or, even if they have, skills that work in other areas of life are inaccessible in the highly charged emotional environment of the marriage. Past traumatic experiences and/or early relationships conflicts can also impact an individual’s ability to effectively communicate with a partner, and block intimacy, connection, and peace.
Marital therapy can provide a safe space for each individual’s needs to be heard and validated, and allow couples to reconnect with one another. It may also be a starting point for each individual to begin his or her own exploration of past traumas or unresolved relationship issues.