Many Canadian families go through struggles and can greatly benefit from the services of a professional family counselor. It can be tempting to sweep problems under the rug within a family instead of taking them to a professional counselor who can help straighten them out. We tend to stigmatize those who need counseling as damaged goods or throw away people, which is ridiculous considering that nearly a third of the population is in need of professional counseling. Families who go through adverse experiences together, such as domestic violence, addiction, mental disorders or trauma statistically benefit enormously from professional counseling, Counselors may be needed to resolve a problem that has a long history with the family, such as mental illness, or they may be needed to resolve a recent trauma such as burglary or a family member who was raped.
Family counselors can change a situation for the better by intervening into the problem, assessing it and working with the family until they are able to cope with their problems on their own. In intervening into a family crisis, they bring their professional, objective perspective into a situation that has otherwise become out of control and volatile. Simply bringing their presence into the situation does a great deal of good for the family to help them gain perspective on the matter.
Professional counselors will often take a neutral stance initially, asking a number of questions, listening carefully to the responses and observing the family’s interactions in order to understand the family’s dynamic and each individual member. Before a counselor will start giving opinions, they will carefully deduce what the underlying problems are within the family.
Once the professional counselor feels they have a good read on the family’s circumstance, they will begin guiding them in communication and exercises. This may be as minimal as asking questions to get a family member thinking about their behavior, or it may be as involved as trust exercises where family members fall backward into each other’s arms. A large majority of families who participate in counseling in order to recover from adverse experiences improve immensely in their interactions with one another.