Family Counseling and Therapy

Parenting is probably one of the most difficult jobs we’ll ever have. Once we become parents, nothing in life seems to matter as much or touch our hearts more profoundly.

Unfortunately, the only preparation most of us have for this incredibly important role is our own childhood experiences. And I don’t think any of us stood by and objectively took notes of what our parents did right or wrong while we were growing up.

Family Counseling and Therapy in San Carlos, CA - Stan Graubart, MFTSuccessful parenting is a continuous process of learning to let go in age-appropriate ways while striking the right balance between providing structure and rules that help our children grow into responsible and independent adults.

But how do you set limits while still nurturing, loving, protecting and teaching your children? Family counseling and therapy can help…

Why Family Counseling and Therapy

Parents typically seek family counseling when worried about a child they feel incapable of helping. Some common causes for concern include:

  • Academic difficulties – poor grades, test anxiety, or struggling with homework
  • Misbehaving at home – impulsive or disrespectful behavior or isolating from the rest of the family
  • Emotional distress – routine anxiety, depression, frustration, or anger
  • Social or peer issues – difficulty getting or keeping friends
  • Risky behavior – age-inappropriate sexual activity, substance use or abuse, or running away from home

The teen years can be an especially challenging time for both teens and parents alike. Teenagers face a variety of new situations, responsibilities, and pressures and they don’t always react to them in the healthiest manner possible.

Some of the experiences teens must face are normal facts of growing up, such as dealing with peer groups and new social situations, changing interests and identity, and experimenting with new ideas. Parents can usually help their teens with these issues by providing a structured and supportive environment, talking with them honestly, and being patient.

That having been said, teens often encounter problems such as depression, eating disorders, or addictions to alcohol or drugs that are beyond parents’ abilities to handle effectively.

To make matters more complicated, given teenagers increasing need to assert and express themselves and protect their ever-changing social scenes, they are usually less and less inclined to accept parental opinions and advice. Teens often believe their parents “don’t know what they’re talking about” and that their parents “just don’t understand.”

My role as professional family counselor and licensed therapist is to objectively assess the seriousness of the issues your family is facing, help your child and you understand each others’ reasons for behaving the way you do, and determine the best course of action to restore open communication, mutual respect, and trust to your family.

How Family Therapy Works

The family counseling and therapy services I provide can take a variety of forms.

I may spend time with each family member individually in order to understand their experiences and perspectives on the issues they’re facing and then conduct sessions with the whole family in order to facilitate communication between each family member.

Conducting individual and family sessions allows me to understand the underlying causes of the problems you and your adolescent are dealing with, as well as help each individual family member communicate more effectively to avoid misunderstandings, frustration, hurt feelings, and alienation.

Depending on the nature of the problem, it may be best for me to work only with you and your spouse to help you better understand the emotional changes your teen is facing, learn new ways to work together and discipline effectively, as well as help your child develop more successful problem-solving, anger management, and social skills.

Regardless of the particular structure our work together takes, the goal of family counseling is for each family member to better understand each other’s personalities and behaviors and determine the “why” of what is happening.

Once we know why certain problems are occurring, we can explore communication styles, develop plans for changing unhelpful behaviors, and work towards increasing mutual trust and respect so your family can continue to grow and flourish.

What If You and Your Spouse Are Separated or Divorced?

Going through a separation or divorce can be an extremely heart-wrenching and difficult process for every member of a family. This is especially true for children and teens.

If you’ve gone through, or are going though, a separation or divorce you and your ex need to acknowledge the strong feelings you have regarding the end of your marriage while still maintaining a positive relationship for the well-being of your children.

When providing co-parenting counseling, I typically meet with both parents together, without the children, in order to help your ex and you:

  • Transition from your former roles as spouses to that of co-parents
  • Learn how your parental conflict affects your children
  • Develop communication, anger management, and conflict resolution skills
  • Come to terms with the emotional and psychological effects of your separation or divorce

If you and your ex are willing to work together and put your child’s interests first, everyone can come out a winner.

In short, family counseling can help your child, your partner, and you better understand one another and learn new ways to cope with, and overcome, behavioral issues and other challenges.

With time, patience, understanding, and a willingness to do the work necessary, family counseling can help your adolescent flourish and enter adulthood with confidence and optimism, as well as help you feel proud of the increased rapport, bond, and trust you’ve built with your child.

For more information about how the family counseling and therapy services I provide can help your child and you, please feel free to contact me at 650-595-2698 or with your questions or to schedule a free consultation. I look forward to speaking with you.