Why Am I In Family Therapy?


Your older sister just slammed the door and said that she is leaving to

spend the weekend with her boyfriend. Your parents blame each other for

your sister’s problems. They also argue about money. When they yell, you

want to cover your ears and disappear into the floor. You worry about your

parents and sister all day at school and it is beginning to affect your


Oddly enough, YOU are the one who gets noticed. Your teacher sees your

falling grades. She is concerned that you look worried and you sleep

during class. The teacher and guidance counselor call in your parents and

recommend that you see a therapist. Wait a minute!

Your parents tell you to “open up” to this lady you never met

before. The therapist talks to you, and then the whole story spills out.

It’s a relief to tell someone all the things you kept inside. She asks

your permission to discuss your worries with your parents. You are afraid

that your parents and sister will be mad because you spilled the beans

about private family matters. The therapist reminds you that your parents

gave you permission to talk to her about anything at all. So it’s O.K.

She meets with your parents. They talk about their arguments with each

other and with your sister. The next week, the therapist sits down with

you and your parents. Your sister is refusing to come. The therapist helps

you tell your parents how the yelling frightens you. You all talk about

how your family can make you feel safer. In the second part of the

session, the therapist asks you to sit in the waiting room while she talks

to your parents. She tells you that your parents will deal with some

husband and wife issues privately. That’s a relief.

After a while, your sister starts coming to sessions with the rest of

the family. Sometimes, she yells and curses in the sessions. Now that you

know that the family is working on the problems, it is easier to listen to

her anger. One week, you stay home while your sister brings her boyfriend

in to talk with your parents.

Your grades improve and you don’t worry about your family all day.

Things aren’t perfect—your parents still have disagreements, and your

sister hasn’t broken up with her boyfriend. Now nobody yells. You can

sit down together at home and talk out the problems.



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for Kids and Adolescents about Mental Health Issues: Divorce,

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