Marriage & Family Therapy is an important tool for “helping people manage transitions, overcome obstacles and reach their potential.” This is more than a purpose statement for my private practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of Michigan.
For almost 40 years I have been focused upon this one goal as both a minister and a counselor. Working as a minister at local churches my task has often been to help people discover their spiritual gifts and use them in meaningful works of service. At the same time I was going to graduate school and counseling people pastorally, as a spiritual guide. My entire career has been built around helping people because Jesus helped people.
So many events happen in our lives that do not give us fair warning, a personal RSVP invitation or a heads up. At other times we can anticipate changes ahead and begin to prepare for them such as when children attend their first day of school or when adults change jobs. Life if filled with transitions which, most of the time, we manage without a second thought. There are other times when we are forced to make transitions because of a sudden death, divorce or traumatic event. Depending upon how prepared we are for what we must face it is sometimes worth considering sitting down with someone who can help you work through the pros and cons of choices that must be made to manage a transition that is particularly challenging.
While many super heroes are able to simple burst through brick walls with ease, most of us have to find ways to go around, over or under them. In life brick walls often come in the way of unresolvable conflict, stubborn attitudes and hostile takeovers, for example. The dynamics of brick walls can be very unique to a marriage or a family. Sudden changes in our health status can change simple, effortless activities into impossible tasks that require herculean efforts. Brick walls don’t move; they force us to adjust our course or walk away. Navigating the least painful of unpleasant options can sometimes be aided by a listening ear, timely advice or just a different perspective.
REACH THEIR POTENTIAL
Truly, this is what helping people, managing transitions and overcoming obstacles is all about. Helping a family make choices that will help them down the road of reaching their maximum potential is where much of the joy for the journey comes from in counseling others. Sometimes the change can surprise us with a sudden insight or new way of looking at a problem. At other times solutions require careful thought and consideration as we weigh options, eliminate unnecessary baggage and make thoughtful choices. Often, just having a plan that is ready to adapt to best- and worst-case scenarios can give peace in the midst of incredible storms in life.
CONCLUSION FOR MARRIAGE & FAMILY
When people schedule appointments with a marriage and family therapist it is not always because they don’t know what to do. Sometimes the actions required are obvious and plain for everyone to see. So, we set goals, work to discover what makes them difficult to achieve; what feelings need to be resolved. Then we work together to start moving towards the goal in a way that respects family systems, marital dynamics and interpersonal challenges and opportunities. That is when a marriage and family therapist can make all of the difference.
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