Dealing with Trauma in Your Family
For many patients who are currently seeking mental health counseling at this time, they may find that, unfortunately, their therapy has become something of a double edged sword for them as they are always taking “one step forward, two steps back.” This feeling can arise because while a client may find themselves successfully integrating the various mindfulness techniques they learn in therapy while in their clinician’s office, it is very possible that, once outside of the mental health therapist’s office, they are unable to successfully transpose those techniques into their everyday lives.
Although there are a variety of reasons why this can happen, one of the most prevalent, albeit underdressed causes, is due to the unresolved processing of trauma that occurs within the patient’s own family unit. Because therapy is so often a solitary relationship that is limited to solely the client and the patient, practitioners often find themselves unable to deal with this trauma, which can frequently lead to a relapse in negative thoughts and behavior patterns.
This leads to a vitally important question if you are a professional provider of counseling services: how can you help clients deal with trauma in their family if the family member is not also receiving therapy?
How Can a Mental Health Therapist Deal With Trauma in a Family Unit?
In order for mental health counseling to be truly effective in situations such as these, a more holistic and systemic approach must be taken on the part of the mental health therapist. This means that, if at all possible, other family members must be integrated into the therapeutic relationship.
The practitioner should observe the way the client and their family member, or members, react in a therapeutic environment and then make suggestions about treatment based on those observations. Often times, relationships between family members can be toxic in a way that the client, the relevant family member, and the therapist are unaware of until they are seen firsthand. As such, successful treatment must take the home life of the patient into account as fully as possible.
What Role Can Genetics Play in Dealing with Family Trauma?
Another important part of understanding the role of counseling services in treating family trauma is to note the research that has taken place. An increasingly large body of research has been devoted to understanding the way in which genetics can have a role in the treatment of a person who is dealing with trauma.
The literature and studies on this topic seem to very strongly suggest the impact of trauma can indirectly affect multiple generations. Those patients whose parents have suffered from intense trauma, such as the children of veterans suffering from PTSD, can actually be affected on a genetic level by the trauma of their parents, even though they themselves were not directly a part of the event in question.
As more research is done on both scientific and therapeutic fronts to figure out how to more effectively treat trauma in mental health counseling, these are all tremendously important factors to keep in mind for any mental health counselor who is working with trauma patients.
If you feel you are suffering from trauma and are in need of counseling services, and are based in the greater Chicago area, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Smith Psychotherapy Associates today.