What REALLY happens in family therapy? ~Nedra Tawwab, LCSW

Want to know if family counseling is beneficial for you? 
Black people are starting to be more open and vocal about the benefits of the counseling process. Celebrities such as Charlamagne Tha God, Jennifer Lewis, and Keke Palmer have spoken about how their families impacted their mental health which led to them seeking counseling. Many of the issues that individuals face were observed in their family of origin. Too often, family counseling is used under duress or when an intervention is needed on a particular family member. Family counseling is not intended to be biased toward one family member over the other. It is meant to allow attendees to address issues in the family system. When one person has an issue with the family, the entire family unit is impacted. For instance, if a parent has issues taking care of the kids and leans on other family members for finial support, the other family members are now involved and therefore impacted. 
Who comes to Family Therapy?
Family therapy is a counseling process for two or more members in a family unit. A family is identified as a couple, siblings, mother-daughter, parents-children, etc. In many, cases families seek counseling to address communication issues, death, divorce, substance abuse or changes to the family dynamics. Family counseling is useful for families who have long-term patterns of dysfunctional such as substance abuse and sexual/physical abuse, changes in relationships structure such as divorce and those who want to learn how to be in healthy relationships with one another. 
What to Expect
Prior to entering counseling, families may not have the tools to sort through issues or they may not have the language to identify their needs and feelings. In a family counseling session, the therapist will establish rules and assess the expectations of the family. The biggest myth in family counseling is that  “my opinion will not be heard.” The therapist will allow everyone the opportunity to speak, will summarize relevant information and ask questions for deeper probing. Each family member is granted the opportunity to speak so that no one person is monopolizing the conversation. If one person seems to be talking more than others, the therapist will ask for others to speak and respond. The family will establish mutually agreed upon goals for counseling and identify how they’d like to function post counseling.  Therapists strive to be fair. Therefore, when working with families therapist will develop a structure to make sure the everyone is heard. 


What are the benefits of Family Therapy?
Family counseling gives people the tools to communicate in an effective manner and in a respectful way. Family counseling can be a safe haven for people to work through unspoken issues or old wounds. Many people come to counseling to process hot-button issues in the family or to expose secrets that haven’t been revealed to all attendees. Counseling is helpful for many families who may not have a history of working through issues in a productive manner. 
Why you need to go? 
The counseling space gives people the comfort and safety to express things honestly in a way that we are unable to do on our own without the proper tools. Counseling brings out issues that are at the core of our more frequent disputes. Family issues won’t improve if everyone is not on the same page. In counseling, you can learn to work together as a family to be in a healthy relationship. 
I’ve been a licensed therapist for over 10 years. In 2011, I established my group practice Kaleidoscope Counseling in Charlotte, NC where we focus on holistic and eccentric counseling. I believe in educating people about mental health in simple and undesirable ways. We are all impacted by mental health either directly or indirectly. I work with adults and couples to helps them develop healthy relationships. I chose this area of focus because everything we decide is based on how we relate to ourselves and others. Helping others see the connections is life changing. When we improve our ability to care for ourselves we can show up in our relationships as a healthy being.
For updates on what’s happening with me follow me on Instagram @kaleidoscopecounseling or visit my website www.kaleidsocsopecounselingpllc.com

2 thoughts on “What REALLY happens in family therapy? ~Nedra Tawwab, LCSW

  1. angwhitmore

    There seems to be such stigma attached to counseling. Growing up I always had the idea that something must be wrong with you if you are seeking this type of help. I wonder if many people allow things to build up inside pretending to be fine because they do not want to be labeled as “messed up” and end up in the long run more emotionally detached because of it. Having a mediator to help you work through issues you are unable to address on your own sounds like a great idea, but I think it scares a lot of people.


    • It does scare a lot of people, but hopefully by sharing stories people will be encouraged to to at least try. There is a post on my site called “Her Name was Jane” and it tells about my first time at therapy… I almost left! Hopefully more of us will be brave to at least try it because once you find the right therapist is life changing!


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