Family Counseling or family therapy is a section of psychotherapy that is designed to work with couples and families to help and assist when times get difficult and relationships are tattered. The emphasis on such measures is to give troubled couples and married folks the tools to bind the wounds and keep the relationship going against some pretty difficult odds, in many cases.
The prevailing sentiment, no matter what the origin of the particular philosophy of any prevailing counseling school of thought, is that the predominant emphasis is on the family and keeping it intact.
Most situations that appear to be unsolvable are simply because of egos that have been damaged and real hurt has occurred during the relationship. A relationship that was extremely positive and robust at the beginning has now become stale and angry in many circumstances.
Many counseling sessions rest the success of getting a couple to see eye to eye upon the quest to “get it done for the children” which is probably the very worst reason. It is a solution that sounds good, but one that probably has the least possible real chance of success.
What good is a relationship that is not working at all between two parents going to do for the children except to point out that parents who cannot get along spoil it for everyone else?
So people first have to agree that there is something that is worth salvaging between themselves, and begin to work from that standpoint. If they can come up with the reasons, then with strategies which can be formulated to give them the tools to make it happen, it can work.
People need to think back and remember why they got together in the first place. Was it sex? Did they fall in “lust” instead of falling in love? There is a huge divide in that one, and people just need to be honest and deal with the reality. If it was mostly the sexual urge that suddenly created a family and then they wanted to “do the right thing”, the relationships may have been on rocky ground to begin with.
Nevertheless, here you are in the present, and the counselor will try and establish some common ground where the words will come from the mouths of the couple in question. What happens now. Choices are to split up with all of the ensuing chaos or stay together with a different kind of result perhaps.
Getting a couple that has been screaming at one another for the past couple of years to calm down and see things objectively is tough, unless you can get them to see the consequences of both positive and negative choices.
The most difficult situation to handle is the one where one of the partners in a marriage or a relationship is having an affair and is not willing to admit it. Reconciliation rates in this situation are very low unless the person is admitting it and wants to reconcile and is truly sorry.
The counselor must keep in mind that they are dealing with emotions that are very near to the surface, and unless the emotions can be tamed down a bit, progress will be slow. But, the very fact that there are two people sitting before the counselor, says that there is still a possibility of making progress.
All around understanding of the big picture, a willingness to explore possible solutions and honest feedback are the keys to any progress. If people have even a shred of concern about the relationship, and here we are speaking about both sides, then the conversation can be kept going. Then there is always the next step. As each step is taken, the relationship can be rebuilt enough, with enough refereeing and guidelines that are agreeable to both, so that there is a good chance of reconciliation.