Our work has focused on individuals, adults, teens or children who have experienced one or more critical events or traumas in their lives that are now impacting their day-to-day lives. This includes adults whose early childhood trauma is now imposing on their close friendships or intimate relationships.
Adults who react to original trauma triggers at work and among their family and/or friends are helped through therapy. Such individuals are taught how to be in the here and now. Triggers often leave these individuals feeling as if they are back in the original trauma. Feelings of being out of control, helpless, anxious or powerless are common. Generally, adults come to therapy when they are chronically sad or anxious, and find themselves withdrawing from life to escape these feelings.
Other examples of people who may benefit from counselling are:
As a result of these experiences or situations, such individuals may have difficulty in times of intimacy or conflict. In addition, holidays, celebrations, or anniversaries can trigger strong memories and feelings from the past that have remained unresolved. This may impact upon current relationships with a spouse, children and/or at work.
Parents who are conflicted as how their children relate may be re-experiencing the same trauma or conflict from their family of origin and now have reached an impasse that creates conflict or difficulty for them.
Children can also themselves feeling scared or anxious. Some children are afraid to go to school, while others wake up at night with frightening dreams. Some children fight with their siblings. Others silently withdraw from the family without explanation. Many of these children have experienced the trauma of a family breaking up, living with an alcoholic parent, or loss of a significant family member. A child displaying any of the feelings or behaviors may benefit from therapy.
Teenagers are often in conflict with their parents over house rules. They may experience conflicts with friends due to feelings of jealousy while other may have strong feelings of rejection, sadness, or depression. Some have struggles with completing schoolwork or with a lack of direction in life. Some teenagers withdraw and then become lost to the family in a network of unhealthy relationships. They get involved with drugs, truancy, theft, and other forms of acting out. As a consequence, parents and teenagers find themselves in conflict over rules and consequences. In addition, there are situations in which the parents, rather than attempting to find a united voice to help their teen, instead fight amongst themselves about how to raise their young adult.
Survivors of Dysfunctional Families
As adult children of dysfunctional families we operate in a world of extremes – always seeking that healthy balance, the Golden Mean, but always seeming to fall short of the mark. The pendulum swings to one extreme and we feel lonely, isolated, and afraid. We tire of this, and it swings to the other extreme, where we feel enmeshed, smothered, and angry. Then it swings back again. This is true in many areas of our lives, until we get into a solid recovery program.
Taken from the book, “The Secrets of Dysfunctional Families,” John Friel & Linda Friel.