In considering family counseling, one is struck first with the innate difficulties.
Whereas one-on-one counseling requires only balance and congruity between therapist and client, family counseling involves as many family members as exist as well as the therapist.
"Too many cooks in the kitchen," is not the operative phrase, but it does shed light on the dynamic.
Everyone comes to the table with his/her own agenda, past impressions on the mind, likes, dislikes, prejudices and attitudes. They all come, furthermore, with usually fairly different concepts relating to communication, privacy, and goals.
On the surface, the task at hand may seem a bit daunting.
But just as in 12-Step, we are urged to "look for the similarities, not the differences," so it is here in the family therapy milieu.
And just as in "showing up is 80% of the battle," the positive part here is that all family members have come to the table (if indeed they have).
Here, however, showing up may be closer to 50% than 80%. Family members do not get enough points by merely attending. Participation is required and a particular kind of participation can make all more happy, healthy, holy and productive, purposeful and positive.
Lately "interventions" have become en vogue when it comes to confronting/helping a family member going through especially troubling times. A drug addict, e.g., can be assisted in facing his/her situation by relatives and friends whose main goal is to help the person.
So it is in family therapy that persons with many years of interactive experience with each other come into the here & now to improve communication and expression of feelings and skills.
The exigencies of daily life often make it difficult for us to express feelings to each other. Perhaps it is the reason high-rise window washers aren’t known for great social interaction skills. They have other more pressing matters on their minds, one might say.
When a "problem" presents itself, one way of approaching it is to gather the family together in a therapeutic setting we call "Enriched Structural Family Therapy."
Originally developed by Salvador Minuchin and Jay Haley in Philadelphia as Structural Family Therapy and later enhanced by Ross Ford of Baltimore, the value of this therapeutic model is a strong emphasis on the here & now and on expression of positive thoughts and especially positive feelings.
There is less intellectual statement of matters and more of a creation and enhancement of a positive ATMOSPHERE of love, support and safety.
Such an atmosphere epitomizes and maximizes opportunities for healing. Even though assisted and some may say induced by the therapist, when a son tells his mother he loves her, something magical happens. Eventually this occurs spontaneously.
So when we speak of training the mind to react with love, we mean what we say.
As with other forms of training, repetition and tools are helpful, indispensable, in fact.
And our experience, frankly, is that there may be other ways to manipulate atmosphere, but the quickest, easiest and most effective in our experience is the Homa part of Homa Psychotherapy.
Burning specific substances under certain disciplines results in changes of atmosphere that maximixe the chances that the family (or individual) will be able to react positively more and more frequently. Is it perfection? Perhaps not, but progress, not perfection is the goal in 12-Step. Why not here as well?
A two-week experiment is thus often suggested whereby at least one family member performs daily sunrise/sunset Agnihotra.
Then, with or without continuing counseling, tangible, positive results are reported universally.
The proof being in the pudding, however, and all situations being unique, it is suggested to try it and see for yourselves.