So What If We Tried It?

So, what if we, as family units, tried to go into counseling together? Why not do it? Why hasn’t that ever been thought of or tried before? Well, obviously some families have gone into a therapist’s office in an attempt to ‘help’ another family member. That ‘identified patient’ or family member normally struggles with anxiety, depression, substance abuse or some other destructive behavior. Surely, the family is there for one, maybe two visits to try to help the therapist with some ideas as to why this family member is such a difficult person to live with.

Surely, What I am suggesting here is that it is the entire family unit which requires therapeutic attention to the roles each one plays as the family members go through adolescence, especially later teen years when these young men and women are preparing to leave ‘the nest’.

As I have written in my book, “Am I Going To Be Okay? if our older teens (perhaps even younger) are not allowed to say ‘no’ to us or at least ‘I don’t agree’ then how will they have the capacity to say it when they are out on their own?

When did it happen that our grown children were limited to only our voices for the lessons of reason and worldly views? Is it only when someone goes to boarding school that they have the training to live away from the family unit without going into drugs and alcohol (copious amounts) to cope with daily schedules, opposite sex and so on?

What if the family were required to have a weekly, monthly or at least, yearly checkup as individuals are to see where professionals might be able to shed some light on why these things are happening more often not less often?

What things you ask? Overdoses, alcohol poisoning, often freshmen leave college during or after their first semester because it’s too much outside of home to deal with. The client’s I see actually say, “I had no idea it would be this hard to be in college.”

Why the hell not? By what feat of magic do parents imagine their teens, who have been controlled with every movement during their high school years, and then sent off to college will accomplish that which they’ve never been taught?

The ideal is to have older adolescents leave home and ‘trust’ their own intuition. That is what is missing. Not what their parents would think is right or wrong, but what they themselves can see for themselves.

Yes, why not give therapy to the family as a whole and look at what transformations are possible when someone outside the family is allowed to guide them. It is NOT just the one member of the family who struggles that is the problem. It never has been. It is the family as a unit to which we need to look for a change in what is happening in the world and in every one of our lives.

Debra Whittam is the author of “I'm I Going to be Ok?" For any media inquiries or questions please contact:

#familytherapy #familycounseling

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