March 11, 2020
If you have depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, or if you are struggling with substance abuse, you have probably realized by now that you need help beyond what you have had access to. However, what you may not have realized is that your struggles also impact your family. They may not understand your condition, why you have certain behaviors, or how they can really help you. Does your family need therapy, too? Yes, your family may need therapy as much as or more than you do. You did not come with an instruction manual that says, “for substance abuse, see this page,” or “for depression, see that page.” Many families have no idea what these struggles are or how to help you, even if perhaps they have struggled with similar issues themselves. This is true even of yourself, you may not know how to tell them how they can help you, either. By accessing family therapy, your family can learn more about your mental health, find out how to communicate more effectively, and access tools to help you and improve your family dynamics.
Learning About Mental Health
Whoever said, “Knowledge is power” could not have been more accurate when it comes to your family and mental health. For example, if you have depression, you may have told your parents that you struggle to sleep at night, but cannot stay awake at all during the day. Maybe your parents thought this was just a teenage thing, or that you were staying up intentionally to text or play video games or something. But when families learn about depression, they not only realize you were being honest all along, they also learn how they can help you regulate your sleep cycle. Learning about your struggles with mental health and substance use helps everyone to get on the same page. It is true they will learn about things you might not be able to get away with anymore, like saying that zucchini triggers your anxiety when really, you just don’t want to eat it. But that is a small price to pay for you to gain new advocates in the form of your family. They loved you before, they have maybe tried to help you in whatever way that they could, but now they will have the knowledge to actually support you.
Improve Family Communication
One of the most difficult things in all families is communication. Many families struggle the most with communication while there are adolescents in the home. Of course, when you add mental health or substance use issues into the mix, you have a recipe for disaster — a recipe for whatever the complete opposite of communication is. As you are learning all kinds of skills in treatment, including how to more effectively communicate, your family can learn to communicate better, too. For example, if anger is an issue within your home, your family might learn how to better manage their emotions and control their anger instead of reacting to you or your behaviors. Imagine a situation in which everyone was angry, but instead of yelling and saying a bunch of hurtful things to each other that you would regret, you were all able to use your newfound skills to calmly resolve the situation, ultimately creating understanding and empathy. This might sound too good to be true, but it is actually possible.
Tools to Help You
Imagine if your parents were trying to assemble some furniture that needed a special type of wrench. They looked through their toolboxes, and couldn’t find anything that would work. So all of the pieces just sat there, and the furniture they wanted to put together didn’t come together. Think about how your mental health requires certain tools for them to help you, and they don’t yet have those tools. They are not able to help you in the same way that they cannot put together the furniture without the tools they need. Except you are their child, and they love you and desperately want to have the tools to help you. When your family invests the time and effort into family therapy, they are gaining the tools to help you heal and live your best life. They can transform from helpless onlookers of your pain and suffering to helpful allies in your epic battles for mental health. Reminding you of things like mindfulness, controlling your emotions, advocating and communicating your needs, self-care, and more helps you to help yourself and increases your chances for success. Giving your family access to communication and other tools helps everyone in your family to succeed. Your family needs therapy, but more importantly, you need them to have therapy. Family therapy can change conflicts to calm, poor communication to harmony, and loneliness to love. By educating your family, teaching them to improve communication within the family, and giving them the tools to help, you are essentially giving them that manual that tells them how to support you. The healing you experience can reach every family member and create peace where there may currently be chaos and contention. You are creating a legacy of mental health when you invite your family to therapy. Create a heritage of healing for you and your family today.
Find out how your family can access therapy. To find help for you and your family, call Potomac Programs 1-855-809-0409 today. You and your family deserve to heal.