Family and Marriage Counselor

In some ways, all therapy is family therapy even if all the family is not involved. Our family is the system within which we operate. If we look at our lives within the context of blame there is always someone at fault. It might be us or another person so if we fix that person the problem will no longer exist. However, this is rarely the case. Typically there is a system issue, and without shifting the system to get the outcome then we are still left with a problem. If we can involve the family in therapy there is the opportunity to utilize the insights of all that are involved to create a system that works. There is also the opportunity for one or two individuals to evoke change in the system with guidance and patience.

The approach to family therapy is to look at it as a system, figure out where it works and where it does not, and create or shift systems that are more effective for everyone. Interventions are designed to help strengthen family relationships in three primary areas: knowing each other, managing conflict, and creating shared meaning. Families learn to replace negative conflict systems with positive ones and to repair past hurts. Systems are designed to increase closeness and intimacy, deepen emotional connection, and create changes which enhances the families shared goals. Using research-based therapy families are taught to disarm verbal conflict, respect, and affection, remove barriers to stagnated conflict, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the family relationships.

Together with Dr. Ferrick, your family will learn:

  • How well you know each other’s inner psychological world, history, worries, stresses, joys, and hopes.
  • How to increase the amount of affection and respect within the family.
  • How to strengthen fondness and admiration, express appreciation and respect with other family members.
  • To state their needs, be aware of bids for connection and respond to (turn towards) each other.
  • A positive approach to problem-solving and how to successfully repair unsuccessful attempts.
  • How to “manage” conflict rather than “resolve” conflict, because relationship conflict is natural and has functional, positive aspects. Understand that there is a critical difference in handling perpetual problems and solvable problems.
  • How to create an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk honestly about their hopes, values, convictions and aspirations.
  • How to understand ideas, narratives, myths, and metaphors about your family relationship.
  • In order to maximize the other family member’s best interests and benefits, not just their own interests and benefits. In other words, this means, “my family has my back and are there for me.”

This means believing (and acting on the belief) that your relationship with this family is completely your lifelong journey, for better or for worse (meaning that if it gets worse you will all work to improve it). It implies cherishing your family members positive qualities and nurturing gratitude by comparing the family favorably with real or imagined others, rather than trashing family members by magnifying negative qualities, and nurturing resentment by comparing unfavorably with real or imagined others.

Some of the relationship issues that may be addressed in therapy include:

  • Frequent conflict and arguments
  • Poor communication
  • Emotionally distanced families
  • Specific problems such as addictions, problem family member, money, and parenting

Even families with “normal” levels of conflict may benefit from these research-based methods. Dr. Ferrick aims to help families build stronger relationships overall and healthier ways to cope with issues as they arise in the future.

Please contact Dr. Ferrick to set up your assessment.

If your family is unwilling to accompany you consider Individual Therapy, often if one person in the family can make changes then the relationship dynamic can shift toward the better for the entire family system

Principles of Great Relationships
Extraordinary Relationships
Synergistic Relationships: Are Superior
Role Awareness Improves Relationships
Intimacy in Relationships through Deeper Human Connectedness
Love like a Stallion
Character Matters to Relationship Quality
Relationship Makers or Breakers
Between the Lines