Why family therapy?

I provide adult family therapy in Austin, Texas.  Within the dynamics of our family, we sometimes inherit roles or get stuck in interactions that limit how our family members see us.  These cyclical patterns can lead to hurt feelings, defensiveness, and emotional distancing.  When patterns go unchecked for too long, we can begin to see the conflict instead of the person.  Our perspective becomes narrowed and we lose sight of the whole person in front of us - whether it be our child, our parent, our sister or our brother.  Taking the time to understand the unique set of feelings and needs that underlie each interaction can return the family to an atmosphere of appreciation and respect rather than division and distancing.

Be seen accurately for who you are now.


What are the implicit rules of your family?  What does not get talked about?  What feelings are allowed and which ones are off-limits?  Do family members regularly cross boundaries or respond defensively when you try to share your needs?  


Few relationships are as emotionally triggering as the relationships we have with our families.  All the personal work we do, all our growth and achievements, can sometimes fly right out the window when we are in proximity to our family.  The early dynamics of these most important relationships live deep within us and can stir us in an instant. 


Together a family moves through many developmental stages and can experience separations, traumas, and deep losses.  Birth order and inherited roles can strain familial relationships well into adulthood.  Unprocessed feelings of hurt or anger can lead to resentment or emotional distancing.  As adults, family members have the potential to share the impact of these experiences, to voice important feelings, and to be seen accurately for who they are now. 


My goal is to:

  • Identify the patterns of interactions that contribute to the family's distress.  It may be necessary to increase engagement between family members or work to reduce reactivity.  It may also be necessary to process early childhood feelings and dynamics.
  • Help each family member first identify underlying needs/feelings and then assert those needs, feelings, and boundaries directly to one another using non-shaming, non-blaming language.  
  • Develop greater acceptance for each other's differences.  Family members may have different boundaries that will inform how "close" they want to be.
  • Guide family members through the process of emotional repair after conflict.
  • Help each family member develop increased tolerance and better coping skills for emotional triggers. 
  • Affirm the strengths and commitment of the family.