For many years, I’ve worked with families who were faced with any number of complicated issues, and although many of these issues differed greatly – some have included histories of abuse, addiction, or many other forms of denial and dysfunction – a similar theme usually existed among all of these family situations: they were unable to step out of the negative pattern that had developed among them over time, and one that ultimately got in the way of creating the kind of connection they all wanted but had no idea how to make happen.
The kinds of families that I’ve worked with previously have included one or two parents with either teenagers or adult children, as well as ‘blended’ families, where a combination of biological parents and step-parents, and biological children and step-children coexist.
Sometimes, the issues existed between only certain members of the family, but not all of them. Other times, the problems centered on adult siblings and there was no need to bring their parents into sessions, and yet on other occasions all members of the family – even extended family – participated in the counselling process. So there are a variety of contexts within which ‘family counselling’ normally takes place.
If you and your family members are currently facing issues that are threatening to either alienate or even destroy the bonds between you, than I may be able to help you resolve issues that you might feel are overwhelmingly difficult.
I have years of experience helping families develop the kinds of tools that are necessary to build healthy and respectful relationships. In addition, these clients found that they can also apply these same tools to other relationships in their lives, and not only to the ones that exist within their own families.
Let me know about the issues that you and your family are currently facing, and I’ll let you know how I might be able to help.
“When we first came to Suzanne for counselling, almost none of us in the family were talking to each other. There were so many resentments, so much anger, and absolutely no willingness to listen to what anybody had to say. One of my parents was an active alcoholic when my sisters and I were growing up, and my father was in denial about it, so that was a big part of the problem. Today, my mom’s been sober for a lot of years, but we still needed to deal with the backlog of anger and resentment. Suzanne helped us sort through it all over several months, and even though things aren’t perfect – they never will be, I guess – they’re a lot better, and at least now we all want to have a relationship with each other. I really appreciate the work that Suzanne did for us, and for instilling hope into each of us as we continue on this journey of recovery.” S..Mc.
“Suzanne seemed to understand the dynamics in our family almost right away. Maybe it’s because of her experience working with families, but I think it’s also got something to do with her understanding of the human being. As she explained, a lot of the fears that my siblings and I had being around one another had to do with fearing that we’d be judged. Our family, including our parents, was all about judging – almost everyone except our individual selves – and so we never felt safe opening up to each other. Now, after a lot of work with Suzanne, my siblings and I try to make it safe to share what we’re feeling, and who we are, without judgement, but instead with compassion. I’ve learned that I can use the things I learned in therapy with Suzanne in relationships outside of my family, and in the ones where I judged others harshly, I’ve begun to try to be a good listener, and keep the focus on what I’m doing that I need to fix, rather than on what everyone else is doing that they need to fix…and it works! Thanks, Suzanne!” D.
“Suzanne taught us that families are like mini societies, and that means that we needed to find ways to cooperate respectfully with one another, despite our differences. That required respect, and we surely lacked that at first. After a while, though, we began to see each other in the family as people just trying to do their best, and the concept of cooperation and respect began to heal what was broken in our relationships with one another. I didn’t want to sit in a therapy room with my parents and siblings, but I’m sure glad that I did.” B.T.