When I first meet someone and strike up a conversation about what I do, I’m often asked who reaps family therapy benefits. Well, the short answer to that question is: everyone. All families experience challenging times. When a family goes through a crisis of some sort, how the family reacts is nearly as important as the crisis itself. That’s where family therapy plays a big role—it works through the challenges within a family, helping each family member grow and learn from the experience.
Certain families have “big” experiences that can make family therapy especially beneficial. If someone in your family has been diagnosed with a serious illness; if a family member has a mental health condition or addiction; if there’s continual conflict between family members; or if a child is going through difficulty and you aren’t sure why, family therapy has a definite role in helping you through those challenges. But even families dealing with the seemingly mundane, everyday challenges of life will come away with three key benefits from time spent in family therapy.
San Diego Family Therapy Benefits: Creates Stronger Emotional Connections
Americans are experiencing a change in mindset when it comes to emotions. In the past, people were encouraged to put their emotions to the side and deal with life. Now we know that it’s important to work through emotions rather than masking them.
Feeling comfortable sharing your emotions can be a challenge, even among family members. It’s important to establish strong emotional connections that allow individuals to truly be themselves and families to work through issues as a whole.
Families are now realizing that they need to be emotionally and relationally strong. They understand that the emotional piece is important now, but aren’t quite sure how to have the conversations that strengthen their relationship. Family therapy is the “safe place” that helps families find that comfort level and strengthen those connections. As families come together in therapy, I work with them to have those important conversations.
San Diego Family Therapy Benefits: Builds Better Communication Skills
So how does family therapy impact communication skills? Consider this: Does your family typically have “normal” discussions in a calm tone of voice? Or do you find yourself beginning a normal conversation and then breaking off into heated battle?
Most people don’t really know or understand the basics of healthy communication. We often simply want to get our point across without giving thought to others in the conversation. It’s something each family has to continually work through.
Family therapy helps family members strengthen their communication skills, allowing them to more constructively work through any challenges they encounter. When you can properly express your feelings and share ideas, it makes dealing with those challenges much easier.
San Diego Family Therapy Benefits: Develops Clearer Boundaries and Rules
The first family therapy sessions are very much about getting to know you. I strive to gain a clear and complete understanding of who you are as individuals and as a family. As part of that, we take a deep dive into how your family functions.
You may be dealing with marital problems, conflict between parents and children or between one child and another, or something beyond the control of your family, such as a health issue or a job loss. Family therapy helps you work through how your family currently works—including family rules—and determine whether that actually works for you and how it can be made better.
My ultimate goal, after all, is to strengthen your family so that you can handle any issues that may arise.
If your family is experiencing a challenging time, I’m here to help. Schedule a free, 15-minute call with me to see how therapy may help your family.
I have been so blessed to have amazing mentors in my life. Tonight I got to celebrate with one of them, Dr. Keith Olson, who is retiring from 19 years of service at Bethel Seminary. A night filled with reminiscing at Bethel tonight, along with staff, faculty and alumni. It was a magical, touching evening of recalling my student days at Bethel, 12 years back. And so even as I was saying goodbye to Keith tonight, he blessed me yet again. I realized that for the first time of living in San Diego, I have major history in this city. I feel so deeply, about a period of my life in San Diego, that happened from 2001 – 2004. I have history in San Diego! That gives me a sense of belonging that I haven’t felt before. But back to Keith, tonight was about him. Here is a tribute to him:
A giant in my life
Your presence is that of a giant
A tall, friendly, gentle giant
A giant in my life
Changing my course in an unequivocal way
Always there at Bethel
Available, present, caring and protecting
Guiding and leading as needed
Tender and sweet in nature
Coffee meetings in various Starbucks
Intellectual conversations and questions answered
All the while standing in as an attachment figure
Serving a fatherly role without even knowing it
I could not be who I am, if it wasn’t for you
Your love, your influence, your training
And I will be forever grateful for the person you are
The teacher, the mentor and friend
You will always be a giant in my life
I will always be indebted to you
Tears in my eyes as I write this now
Missing you will become a part of life
You’ve sown so much, given of yourself
Changed so many lives, many more than my own
Enjoy your retirement and investing in your little ones
I’m so grateful to have had such a giant in my life
The Horse Whisperer Inspires Good Attunement
I recently watched the movie “Buck”. It’s about the life of Buck Brannaman who was the inspiration for the novel and movie, “The Horse Whisperer”. This movie tells the story of Buck, who endured a traumatic childhood, yet also developed a gift of working with horses. This documentary interweaves Bucks gift of reading and training horses, with the life experiences he gained from being a survivor of horrendous childhood abuse. Today, Buck travels around the country offering horse clinics, where he works on horsemanship that is based on really understanding horses and finding ways to teach them to do the work they need to do, by primarily relying primarily on a strong relationship with them. He works with many horses who have been treated badly, and also works on breaking horses in, but he is respectful and develops an intuitive reciprocal relationship in which the horses respond to him out of trust. People bringing their horses to work with Buck, talk in this movie about ways their lives are touched through working with Buck. They talk about growing as people and working through their own personal pain and losses as they develop a healing relationship with their animals.
This documentary really touched me, and it reminded me so much of the work we do in EFT. Watch this clip that I believe encapsulates the heart of what Buck teaches.
Challenge yourself. Can you imagine just being with someone, and getting a feel for them. This is what we do help clients to do better for themselves and each other in session. Buck makes a statement, “It would be better to use 90% mental and 10% physical….”. Jim Furrow having watched this said, “it would be better to use 90% relational/emotional and 10% rationale/cognitive.” He goes on to say it’s a nice illustration for Greenberg’s notion of “guiding” and “following” in working with emotional processing. And then we can apply this to our relationship with ourselves, and look at when we lose this feel with ourselves in session. It’s so easy for us to get anxious or overwhelmed when we fall out of attunement with our clients or EFT as a theory, and these are moments to have that “feel” with ourselves. When we can self-attune, we can self-regulate, and as we self-regulate, we can once again repair with EFT and our clients, and we are back in the game.
I am so excited that I will be leaving for South Africa in a week and that I will be promoting EFT for 7 weeks. We will be offering two Hold Me Tight Couples Retreats, one externship and three Core Skill weekends, across 3 cities (Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Stellenbosch).
I am so looking forward to seeing the budding EFT therapists who continue their journey in EFT and are doing so well. As many of them approach Core Skills 3 it is inspiring to witness how passionate these skilled clinicians are and it’s an absolute pleasure to train them.
Training in South Africa is special for various reasons:
- Personally, it feels so good to give back to my own country
- From a professional perspective it’s amazing to train people who are hungry, grateful and so motivated to grow.
- In a country with a small economy, clinicians can’t attend just any training of their choosing – it costs a lot to take time away from work, and flying around the country is not an option for many. By the time they select to attend this training, they are ready to make the most of every moment. I’ve come to expect them to say, “let’s just keep doing the role plays”, “the more experiential time the better”. “we don’t know when we will see you again and have an opportunity to grow like this”.
- On a macro level, knowing that our country needs these resources so badly, it’s amazing to feel I’m contributing in a small way to the families and people here getting closer to the help and resources they so badly need.
So for all these reasons, here I go and I look forward to seeing you all again.
I recently learned that running a business, is really no different than being in a family. My practice – is my work family. Kim, Alair, Mark and I are committed to one another. We have chosen to work together, and to be in one another’s lives. We see each other on our work days, and we spend hours together weekly, talking about our lives and our work. We laugh together, we argue, we have cried together, and we pray together. Occasionally when we can, we go out and have fun together.
Working together closely in this way, makes working worthwhile.
Love this lady – I’ve worked alongside Kimberly Sandstrom for the past 2 years. She has become a close friend and confidant to me. If you know Kim, you know someone who is trustworthy, loyal, committed and honest. I love your ethical standards Kim, I love your transparency, and I love the way that you inspire others. You lead so naturally, and you also play a supportive role. You fill my work days with joy Kim, and I am so grateful to have you as a part of my practice!
What a man! – Mark Karris joined our practice about 18 months ago. Mark continues to amaze me with his vibrant smile, his passionate views of life, and his vast knowledge. Mark you are thoughtful, you are well-spoken and you live by your beliefs. Mark thank you for being a part of my practice, and for growing alongside of me. You have a hunger for real relationships, and it’s beautiful to see someone who knows what he wants, and is willing to fight for it.
Breath of fresh air – Alair Olson – you are the newest person in our family practice, and I am so enjoying getting to know you. You are a hard worker, with good boundaries. You are honest, and kind, and committed. You have such a natural ability to work with children and families. You also have an uncanny ability to assess and read situations. Your past experience is an asset to the work that you do. I look forward to many more years of knowing you and working alongside of you.
I got to spend the afternoon with two middle-aged brothers who were reflecting on their childhood. They grew up in a very difficult household and both were affected deeply in their own ways. It was amazing to see the healing that came to them both as they were able to share their memories and see them validate each others experiences. Too often siblings who grow up in a conflictual family are set against each other and they grow apart as a result. Here was a case of the siblings becoming emotionally close after many years. Having survived the same family they relate to each other in a very special and deep way. It was an honour to sit with them and to be a part of their process.