It is not always necessary to attend Family Therapy for multiple sessions. There are circumstances where one session of Family Therapy will suffice.
Siblings and parents in adulthood often have a great deal of conflict. This is a normal part of the differentiation process. However, when adult sons and daughters feel disconnected from their parents, or when parents feel that their children have wronged them in some unforgivable way, then collecting everyone to discuss what has happened seems wise. To be effective and productive, single sessions should be longer, about two hours, with an option for another hour if necessary.
It is often unclear to adult siblings what care their parents need, and when and how they should receive it. In addition, adult siblings may differ, sometimes strongly, about what should happen next. Changing from the role of son or daughter to one of caretaker can be psychologically harrowing. Partners of adult siblings may want to be involved as well, or may have skills that would be helpful. Managing that can be complex, and may cause further conflict between siblings and in-laws.
Siblings may not always live near their parents, because of employment or personal decisions, and may be unaware of the changes of aging with their parents, even if they hear about declines from a sister or brother. Collecting everyone that needs to be involved obviates against a series of sessions, with one session being more practical. If necessary, a more distant family member can be added using FaceTime or Zoom. Although such sessions can include what seems like a lot of people, Family Therapists are skilled in moderating such meetings, and in suggesting systemic changes that do not blame or judge anyone.
Blended Families in Adulthood:
Blended families can seem complex, with multiple parents and collections of children and siblings. However, such families constitute more than 60% of all families in the United States, and this is a percentage that is rising. Family Therapists have been studying blended families for decades, and some of the best researchers in this area are from Massachusetts. In a large, extended session of about two hours or more, adults from such families can discuss ways of operating as each section of the family moves forward. These sessions often result in a more comfortable way of relating to each other, and a better perspective on distance and difference.
Families often struggle with the death of a parent, or the death of the last parent. This constitutes a systems shift that may result in what seems like less unity or support, or even a kind of secondary loss. Each member of the original family may have a different perspective on how to relate to each other, or whether to relate at all. Married couples may find that the support of parents had been crucial, and replacing that to be difficult relationally. A single session a few months after the death, when things have calmed, may offer a window to the future.
And there may be problems with the economics of death and disbursement that has caused major conflict. A long session with everyone involved may be seen as solution oriented, where each person’s voice is heard.
The South Shore Family Health Collaborative has a large group of seasoned and expert Licensed Family Therapists that are particularly suited to resolve what we refer to as Family of Origin difficulties. In adulthood, such difficulties often are unresolved, causing pain and relational dysfunction.
Not all problems can be resolved in one session. Often families decide to reconvene on an annual or bi-annual basis, sometimes over holidays, when the family collects itself. And not all problems can be successfully diminished. Suggesting to other family members to do one session, however, seems reasonable, and collecting all family members for one session is easier than suggesting “family therapy”.
Depending on the size of the family group, and the nature of the problem, two therapists may be necessary. This will be discussed in each instance. The costs for Family Therapy in these circumstances are $200 per hour per therapist, which is shared by the family group. A typical two hour session with one therapist would be $400, and $800 if two therapists are needed.
Please call us at 617-750-0183.