Family Therapy

Table of Contents

About Us

Michelle Barratt Psychology is a Toowong and Redland Bay / Wynnum – Manly Clinical Psychology Practice, and aims to provide treatment for Family Therapy, Brisbane at the highest standard. The practice values implementing support and treatment that not only endeavours to support their clients feel safe, heard and understood, but also strives to offer effective treatment that will empower clients to learn new skills to support them in the future. If you are unsure about what you are dealing with, please don’t hesitate to contact us to support you through the next step of either working out what to do or how to proceed with an appointment.

TYPES OF FAMILIES

Families today frequently don’t resemble the traditional families of ten years ago, which consisted of a father, a mother, and the children. There are many different kinds of family structures today, including:
● Nuclear Families
● Blended Families
● Single-Parent Families
● De Facto Parent Families
● Adopted Children Families
No matter their size or shape, as many families as there are success stories have to go through a variety of transitions and conditions in order to become those kinds of families, and doing so can be very difficult. Conflict, bad behaviour, isolation, neglect, communication problems, physical, psychological, emotional, and mental abuse are just a few examples of the many diverse problems that many families face. The majority of us are aware that raising a family is not an easy task. It can be quite difficult to navigate, control, and nurture your family relationships so that they run as smoothly and effectively as possible. For parents, siblings, and caregivers alike, it might seem like an almost impossible chore.
Sometimes, people lose sight of what a healthy family looks like, which may make each of its members feel isolated, disillusioned, angry, and resentful—almost as though there is no hope left. Fundamentally, whether the circumstance is great or minor, people can quickly come to feel despondent.No matter how the family appears and feels to you or to someone else, there are always benefits and strengths among the countless negatives. This is an extremely crucial point to remember.

In order to identify what a healthy family looks like – we need to look at some of the healthy characteristics – and some of these are:
● They communicate and listen.
● Affirm and support one another.
● They foster and maintain respect for others.
● They develop a sense of trust.
● Have a sense of humour and play, and
● Enjoy spending time with one another
● Exhibits a sense of shared responsibility.
● Teaches a sense of right and wrong.
● Try to understand misgivings and
● Endeavours to work through their issues so that they can forgive one another.
● Have a strong sense of family in which rituals and traditions abound.
● Have a balance of interaction among members, and support each other in time of need
● Have shared goals and meaning; building a family culture.
● Respect the privacy of one another.
● Values service to others
● Fosters family table time and conversation where laughter and concerns of others are shared.
● Sharing leisure time.
● Admits to and seeks help with problems.
It is understandable that families cannot consistently display all of these traits, yet many of our modern families may and do strive to be “healthier” families. The majority of the time, because “a” is causing factor “b” to create circumstance X and damage relationship “Y,” and most of the time, family members seeking counselling require assistance with a crisis they can’t handle. The potential for everyone to feel heard, acknowledged, and understood as well as to develop and nurture connections that can help retain some of the aforementioned qualities can be found in family counselling.

Fundamentally, family counselling can assist a family in re establishing communication with one another, fostering partnerships that mend damaged relationships and revealing what lies beneath the obstacles preventing them from enjoying one another.It is very important to keep in mind, as mentioned previously that every family is different, and that every family has its strengths and that due to its own history of issues, exhibits its own ability to learn and develop coping strategies and skills so that it can function more harmoniously and positively.

 

Counselling Techniques

Creating a secure and dependable atmosphere for the family is the main goal of the majority of counselling strategies used in therapy. Family Systems, Emotion Focused, and Schema Therapy counselling are the predominant intervention strategies; all of these techniques support the family in learning how it once functioned in order to better understand why it is currently behaving as it is. The family’s strengths and weaknesses are assessed so that these components can be used to strengthen the weaker aspects of the family’s functioning. These methods primarily aid in developing a clear awareness of how the family functions, making it easy to notice how conflict arises and changes over time. Through the use of counselling techniques, families are encouraged to communicate their issues in order to forge stronger bonds for the future and build stronger bonds that will last through difficult times, resulting in a family that is more harmoniously functioning.
Family Therapy Can Involve:
● Supporting members to reduce the distress and stress they feel that more often than not fosters conflict in the family
● Learn better coping skills and enable them to adopt new coping strategies and or problem-solving skills so that bonds and connections with one another are maintained or repaired if need be
● Learn to see the situation from a new or different perspective, so that better understanding of one another is sought and forgiveness is better attainable.
One must bear in mind that there is seldom just one thing that causes family strife; there are many layers to it, and depending on how long the dispute has been going on, there may even be well-established negative patterns that have emerged.

Author: Michelle Barratt

ADoptive Families

There are many different households that kids can be in, and adoption is one of them. Any age can adopt a child. However, being adopted and residing in your country of origin is one thing; however, residing in a country that is entirely different from your country of birth and in a completely different culture can occasionally present some fascinating issues.
For the purpose of clarity, the Australian Government has published the following definition of adoption: Adoption is a legal process through which a person ceases to be a child of the birth parents and instead becomes, in law, a child of the adoptive parents.
The adoptive parents inherit all parental rights and obligations from the birth parents. A new birth certificate naming the adoptive parents is issued to the adopted kid, who also has parental rights to support him or her and inherit from them. The child’s custody and guardianship are granted to the adopting parents. Typically, an adopted child adopts the family name. The child’s legal ties to the birth parents are severed, and they also forfeit their rights to custody and guardianship. According to the Australian Senate’s report on the Commonwealth’s Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices (Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee, 2012; “the Sente Inquiry,” p. 5–6, para. 2.1), birth rights and inheritance rights between the child also vanish.

Adopted Children

The adopted parents’ varied experiences were detailed in the aforementioned research, and it was noted that most of the assistance that families received during the adoption process came from their spouse. There is no doubt that every family will have a unique story to share about the joys and sorrows they endure;
● During the adoption process
● At the times they receive their child and
● While parenting their child
● Adoptive children wanting to make contact with the parents of origin
● What is the effect of contact on adoptive parents relationships, biological parents and the adoptees themselves.
No matter which part of the process you are in, the biggest issues are likely to relate to adjusting to the new changes in your life.
1. The length of time it takes might cause feelings of uncertainty, irritation, and unrelenting expectation. During the adoption process, many parents go through a range of emotions that can reflect the uncertainties they confront. Since there are several ways to adopt a child in Australia, it is crucial to get the best support possible during this time to make sure the child is welcomed into the healthiest possible family.
2. Receiving an adopted child can feel completely unlike anything you have ever done before. Other emotions, such as anxiety of what this child has actually or really been exposed to (especially if the child has been adopted from another nation), may also surface along with sentiments of happiness and relief. Has this child, for instance, gone through any trauma? Some African children who have been adopted have gone through a variety of “before to adoption” experiences. Many times, children getting psychological treatment early on is crucial to providing the child with as much care and advice as possible. Some of the deep-seated emotional disorders can occasionally only surface years later.
3. During parenting, the child’s behaviour will be determined by the child’s age, prior experiences, the type of adoption process, and the subsequent environment to which the child was exposed. Many parents have expressed concern that their child simply does not act like other kids, or if they are older parents, that their adopted children do not act like their former/present biological children.
4 . If a child wants to get in touch with their original family and biological parents, a range of emotions are felt by both the child and the adoptive family. This period can not only be a happy one but also a very difficult one, possibly altering many family dynamics.
The Senate’s (2012) report found that although half the adoptive parents did not find that the adoption had any effect on the health and wellbeing of their son or daughter, some respondents did find there was a link, of which the most common reported were:
● mental health problems (including depression, autism/Asperger’s syndrome and personality disorders);
● low self-esteem;
● attachment issues;
● feelings of rejection;
● abuse of drugs;
● negative behaviours (shoplifting, stealing, “inappropriate sexual behaviour”); and
● Embarrassment about the adoption.
The majority of adoptive parents in this group wished they had had counselling sooner. According to some adoptive parents, knowing the medical background of the biological family would have helped them better meet the demands of their children. Other parents’ observations on how the adoption has affected their child’s health include: When we tried to reason with him, he would become quite irate and agitated because he always wanted to be perceived as the undesirable one. (1420, 2012)
It has been extremely challenging for us to respond to the numerous recurring concerns due to the lack of more comprehensive information about the birth parents’ health, personality traits, and family histories. (1770, 2012), and the boy didn’t seem to be able to focus on his studies or projects and continue to the end since he was preoccupied with wanting to know and meet his biological family. Poor judgement, inconsistency, self-doubt, and low self-esteem also appeared to be frequent traits among these kids. (233, 2012)
Therefore, it is strongly advised that you don’t hesitate to call if you notice any worrying behaviour in your kids or would like help or parenting advice. Michelle Through the legal process of adoption, a person legally ceases to be a child of their birth parents and instead becomes a kid of the adoptive couple. The adoptive parents inherit all parental rights and obligations from the birth parents. A new birth certificate naming the adoptive parents is issued to the adopted kid, who also has parental rights to support him or her and inherit from them. A new birth certificate naming the adoptive parents is issued to the adopted kid, who also has parental rights to support him or her and inherit from them. The child’s custody and guardianship are granted to the adopting parents. Typically, an adopted child adopts the family name. The child’s legal ties to the birth parents are severed, and they also forfeit their rights to custody and guardianship. According to the Australian Senate’s report on the Commonwealth’s Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices (Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee, 2012; “the Senate Inquiry,” p. 5–6, para. 2.1), birth rights and inheritance rights between the child also vanish.
Family Therapy or Counselling:
Michelle Barratt is a Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologist providing therapy or family counselling to adopted children for low self-esteem, social skills, mental health issues, negative behaviour and parenting skills or any other issues your child or adolescent might be experiencing. Please feel free to contact Michelle to make an appointment to work out whether your child or family might benefit from therapy.

Author: Michelle Barratt

Coping with MEntal Health as a family Member

Observing a loved one battle with a mental illness can be painful. You can be concerned for their welfare, struggling with your own challenging thoughts and emotions, or unsure of how to truly help your loved one. Frequently, a person with a mental illness not only affects themselves but also their entire family. This could lead to anxiety, doubt, rage, or grief over how the sickness has altered your loved one’s or your own lifestyle. It’s critical to realise that, despite being challenging, these emotions are typical. You can overcome obstacles and come to terms with the condition by acknowledging them and talking about them. You may have seen changes in your loved one’s behaviour, mood, perception, relationships, or capacity to handle everyday obligations if you are a parent, family member, friend, or partner of someone who is dealing with mental illness. It can be difficult to manage your thoughts, feelings, and duties while still supporting your loved one through these changes. In some cases, this can be so stressful that it contributes to your own mental illness.
If you are becoming overwhelmed here are a few tips for coping with mental health as a family member:
● Educate yourself: Learn as much as you can about the illness. This will help to reduce misconceptions and assist you to determine what you can reasonably do to support your loved one.
● Be patient: Your loved one may be struggling with accepting their diagnosis or exhibiting challenging or complex behaviours. It’s important to remember that getting better takes time and your loved one can’t just “snap out of it.”
● Listen: The power of listening is often overlooked. You don’t always have to know the answers, sometimes listening without judgement is just as effective. Giving your loved one uninterrupted time and space to talk can be calming and reassuring.
● Motivate them to seek help: Encourage your loved one to be involved as much as possible in seeking treatment, looking after themselves physically, taking part in daily activities and socialising.
● Offer support: Let your loved one know that you love them and are available for support. Some ways you may be able to support your loved one include offering to talk to them about how they feel, taking them to appointments, encouraging them to take their medication, helping to create low stress environments or organising fun activities to do together.
● Make an emergency plan: If your loved one experiences suicidal thoughts, self-harming or becomes aggressive towards others it may be helpful to create an emergency plan together including what to do and who to contact should these behaviours occur. It may also be helpful to discuss this plan with a health professional such as a doctor or psychologist.
● Self-care: Supporting a loved one with a mental illness isn’t easy. It is important to look after yourself and to set clear boundaries on what you are willing and able to do. Make sure you make time for your own hobbies, physical activity and friends. Remember it’s okay for you to seek your own support such as talking to a psychologist, joining a support group or confiding in a trusted friend.
It will take some time to adjust to and establish a new routine after learning that a loved one has a mental condition. Make sure you are attending to your own emotional, social, and physical needs. Watch for warning signs of stress and think about speaking with a mental health expert. You and your loved one may benefit from speaking with a psychologist since it will enable you to better comprehend and control potential scenarios and behaviours. By exhibiting this behaviour, you might encourage your loved one to seek professional assistance as well

Author: Michelle Barratt

Creating healthy Families after a seperation or Divorce

Nowadays, families can exist in a variety of ways, including as nuclear families, single families, step-families, or blended families. However, the dissolution of any family can be incredibly painful for all of the family members.
Unfortunately, more often than not, there are many reasons why a family might have to/need to separate and some of these are:
● The result of high conflict
● Relationship breakdown
● Physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse
● Couples that simply drift apart
● Infidelity External pressures or stresses from work
● The stress of parents having to live away from home for long periods of time
● A sick child
● The loss of a child or parent
● Financial stress
… and the list goes on.
Whatever the reason, this may be a very difficult and uncertain moment for a family, leaving parents or other family members with a lot of choices to make. Family members affected by family disintegration may feel overburdened, perplexed, and occasionally extremely afraid of what the future may hold, leaving them feeling vulnerable. During this period, family members frequently require support.
Michelle Barratt can provide individual counselling as well as counselling for families, parents, couples, or just kids or teenagers. Michelle uses a variety of interventions and strategies in her counselling sessions to help families, people, parents, couples, kids, and/or teenagers comprehend and cope with the profound changes they are going through.
Divorce or separation within a family does not spell the end of that family. Many families can improve their relationships through therapy by learning the art of listening, communicating more positively, negotiating, etc. Family therapy can help a family and its members learn and develop the skills they need to function as a new or “different” family, but the relationships within the family can still improve and stay healthy.
While Michelle Barratt supports and mentors her clients through therapy and their road to healing and recovery, her counselling is wholly client-focused. The type of intervention Michelle uses will therefore depend on the issues brought up in therapy, but with families, family-systems therapy and emotion focused therapy are primarily used. There are many other types of intervention styles as well, but this can be discussed with Michelle when you meet with her.

Author: Michelle Barratt

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