What to Expect from a Typical Family Counseling Experience


You and your spouse are having problems you can’t seem to work out. Or maybe it’s not you and your spouse; it’s you and your adult parents. Perhaps you are having trouble relating to your kids. At any rate, family counseling exists to help you and the rest of your family get your relationships back on track. Family counseling is offered by licensed counselors and therapists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, etc.

Agreeing to family counseling can be a scary thing. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. You may even feel somewhat ashamed to admit that you need help. All of the negative feelings associated with counseling services are normal. Becoming comfortable with the idea is part of the healing process.

Whether you need couples’ counseling, marriage counseling, or even counseling between parents and children, private clinics like Relationships & More in Rye, NY abound. The good folks at Relationships & More say that you have nothing to fear from family counseling.

The Goal of Counseling

Any expectations you might have of family counseling begin with the reason you are thinking about giving it a shot. Understand that your goals may differ from your counselor’s goals.

Family counselors have one primary objective: to act as mediators between family members struggling with relationship problems. As mediators, their role is to help their clients figure out what is going on between them and then apply appropriate solutions.

Understanding a counselor’s goal makes it clear that they cannot fix relationship problems. If you go into counseling expecting your therapist to fix whatever is broken, you’re looking at it from the wrong perspective. Only you and the other family members involved can fix the relationship. A counselor’s job is to act as facilitator.

A Lot of Talking

Expect to engage in a lot of talking during family counseling. By its very nature, counseling is a talking therapy. It gets people together and encourages them to verbally express their thoughts and feelings. It is designed to facilitate productive conversation that uncovers long-standing problems in a neutral environment.

A good family counselor doesn’t do all the talking themself. They ask open-ended questions that invite explanations from clients. They also encourage clients to talk to one another rather than at them. Again, your counselor is just a mediator. They facilitate the discussions that will help heal your relationships.

One or More Sessions

It is not unusual for clients to expect success with just one session. Don’t misunderstand, a single session can go a long way toward healing a broken relationship. But rarely do people in need of counseling get everything settled in just 60 minutes. Family counselors almost always recommend multiple sessions.

During each session, you should expect to be faced with some raw emotions. Family counseling is a lot like removing a bandage. You can peel it off slowly or with one strong pull. Either way, there is going to be pain involved. Family counseling is the same way. It often hurts before it makes you feel better.

Paying for Counseling

Finally, expect to pay for family counseling services out-of-pocket. The vast majority of health insurance plans do not pay for such services. If yours does, consider yourself among the fortunate. If not, be sure to inquire about rates before you sign up for sessions.

Family counseling isn’t always the most pleasant experience. But when provided by a trained counselor with a track record of success, it can represent an investment that pays off in stronger relationships. Family counseling is well worth looking into if you are struggling at home.