Man is a social animal. He cannot live in isolation. His life is deeply intertwined with society at large. His or her interactions with his or her surroundings often lead to problems which may be psychological in nature. Anxiety and stress are two common reasons for psychological reasons. It is in this scenario that the role of a therapist is of utmost importance who tries to provide some sort of semblance to human relationships.
In a relationship there are many highs and lows. A therapist is after all a human being who faces similar problems in their own life. Often as a therapist the main challenges that we face are we tend to analyze a situation according to our personal context. It is often seen that stressful situations can cause the family to become dysfunctional. If past issues in the life of a patient are not taken up, it may lead to emotional explosion (Newman, 1994).
Family life cycles are based on factors like race, culture, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, etc. Hence each individual in a family faces different situations in different ways.
To family therapist different stages in the family life cycle poses varied challenges. To counsel a young adult leaving home the main concern is leaving the security of home and stepping out to the unknown world. It is a rite of passage and I would like to advice this fact to this group. Since everyone has to go through this phase, it would be easy to alleviate their fear of the unknown by me. The client’s unwillingness to participate in the process has been conceptualized (Seibel and Dowd, 2001) and has to be dealt with appropriately.
In schools therapy is required in a huge way. Bullying and their victims have both to be helped to become normal. Peer pressure to perform better or try out drugs and alcohol at a vulnerable age often leads to petty crimes. Juvenile crimes are on the rise. The main challenge to a therapist is to win the confidence of these adolescents. In schools, therapists may expect resistance from these children (Stone and Dahir, 2006).
At home sibling rivalry, temper tantrums, behavioral abnormalities in young children can be seen. These problems normally have a deeper root in the upbringing of a child. I would encourage that unhealthy comparison between children should be discouraged. As a therapist, the main challenges I might face is adults may not accept us into their lives thinking I am intruding their privacy. Ego may come in the way (Cowan and Presbury, 2000). So rapport between my patients and me has to be established on a priority basis before starting the sessions.
After a baby is born family is the primary source of security. So victims of family violence are very challenging for a therapist as they are very vulnerable and hence they normally build an invisible wall around themselves. They tend to hide the hurt that they feel and not take adult help (Teyber, 2006). To reach out to such victims requires a lot of patience and understanding, as this builds trust in therapists. This would be the most challenging part in my career as such victims have to be counseled over a long period of time.
As a family therapist I may have to deal with issues of addiction. Any member of the family can be addicted. Alcoholism in parents has destroyed the very fabric of many families. Children may suffer abuse at the hand of their alcoholic parent. In such cases children suffer from a sense of insecurity. This is a rewarding as well as a challenging profession when we achieve positive results.
Cowan E. W. and Presbury J. H., (2000). Meeting client resistance with reverence. Journal of Counseling and Development. 412- 418.
Newman, C. F. (1994). Understanding client resistance, Methods for enhancing motivation to change. Cognitive and Behavioral practice. 50- 61.
(Stone and Dahir, 2006).
Seibel, C. A., & Dowd E. T. (2001). Personality characteristics associated with psychological reactance. Journal of clinical Psychology, 963-969.
Teyber E. (2006). Interpersonal process in therapy, An integrative model. (5 ed.)