How We’re Unique
Although the therapeutic techniques employed by our staff vary according to the needs of a given case, the foundation of our work is the same. We are committed to providing effective and efficient therapy and view problems in the context of the larger social network in which the individuals are embedded. We treat our client as briefly as possible to enable them to change, referring them to one another or elsewhere if they require services we are unable to provide.
We are unique not only in our strong emphasis on the family, but also in the internal operations of the agency. We strive to work in a cooperative model, respecting one another’s ideas. We utilize each other as co-therapists, as mutual supervisors, and as a coordinated treatment team. We believe that this allows us to provide a higher level of service to our consumers and at the same time makes our work more intrinsically satisfying.
It is usually helpful to dispel a number of myths that people have about therapy in general as well as to cite ways that family therapy is unique:
1. Therapy is not necessarily a long, drawn-out process. The typical client is in therapy at our Institute for 10 to 12 sessions.
2. The involvement of whole families in the treatment process serves to expedite change because each family member can contribute his or her unique perspective and understanding of the problem(s). The family often holds resources and influence essential to the treatment process of its members.
3. Family involvement in therapy does not imply blame of anyone. We believe that although people are trying to do “what’s best”, they can get inadvertently stuck in patterns of interaction that lead to the development of symptoms in one or more family members. Our strategy is to elicit the family’s strengths and resources and to unleash hidden potentials that are somehow blocked.
4. Family therapy does not necessarily imply involvement of all family members in all sessions. We are flexible and adaptive to the needs of each situation. The most important time for full family involvement is in the initial evaluation process.
5. A good way to consider counseling help for the first time is to view it as an experiment and simply make a commitment for a trial first session. Come meet us, see how we work, get some feedback and hear how we might be of service. After a reasonable length of time, evaluate with your therapist whether or not the approach is effective.
6. In addition to our clinical services, the Institute has a nationally recognized training program. Our facilities include a one-way mirror and videotape equipment that allow us to share our work with the family or other members of our professional team, but always with explicit permission from the clients.
7. The best time to seek help in therapy is before small problems become bigger ones. People often underestimate the seriousness of their situation and wait until crises occur. We encourage families to get “check-ups” for preventative mental health, especially if they have a question or discomfort about how someone in the family is doing.
8. Therapy need not be an admission of failure, but rather an acceptance of how people can be effectively interdependent. No one can be a master of all trades – plumbing, law, mechanics, counseling, medicine, etc., so it doesn’t make sense that seeking help for personal or family problems is something to be ashamed of!