Couples seeking help are no different to those who do not seek help, neither are their problems unusual. In fact, most couples will experience a period of difficulty as they grow together, and this is a natural part of a couple’s relationship. Sometimes, this is because of a buildup of frustration and disappointment over time, sometimes because there is some other issue or meaning underlying the conflict. Other couples seek help as a result of a crisis in the relationship, such as an affair or apparent loss of affection and caring, or a traumatic event, such as an illness or loss in the family.
Families can struggle too and they seek help for a number of reasons. These reasons can include poor communication, frequent arguing, unfulfilled emotional needs, financial concerns and conflicts about how to parent children. Problems often occur at key transition points, i.e. when children are emerging into adolescence, when one member has suffered a significant injury or sickness, or any change in routine or situation that sends the family into a state of destabilization. In these instances, Dr. Moss may recommend family therapy. This type of therapy focuses on the relationships between all members of the family and as such, all members would need to commit to attending therapy. At some points however, the focus may shift to the parental couple for a period of time. If this occurs, children would no longer be involved in treatment. If parents are wondering whether their children should be involved in the sessions, they should discuss this with Dr. Moss.
In either form of therapy, Dr. Moss will start with an assessment. He will ask about the problems and how each member of the family sees the difficulties and their understanding of why the issues have arisen. Histories of each individual will be taken to gain an understanding of what each person brings to the situation. Dr. Moss will then give you his impression of what may be the key issues to be addressed at the conclusion of the assessment. The family or couple can then decide whether to accept Dr. Moss’s recommendations about whether or not to enter therapy and what kind of therapy to pursue.
In therapy, Dr. Moss will work to develop insight into the family or couple’s ‘system’ and thus highlight the changes that will benefit the relationship(s). Dr. Moss may act as a mediator, attempting to clear up misunderstandings in communication, but will work towards those involved to eventually develop their own strategies to resolve conflict. Dr. Moss may also help the members consider alternative ways of handling problematic situations. Changing family dynamics is a challenging process for all concerned as is breaking any ‘habit’, however the aim is to create positive and lasting change, so all members feel empowered to make more mindful decisions and engage in healthier methods of relating.