Adult Family Therapy
Relationships are complicated.
For many of us, relationships as adults within families are complicated, confusing, and sometimes painful.
To make matters worse, this is usually the busiest time of life.
It’s far too easy to get caught up with juggling kids, partners, work, goals, etc. and think nothing can be done to better them.
Whether you’re an adult dissatisfied with the relationship with your parent(s); or a parent dissatisfied with the relationship with your adult child…
…things CAN be different.
You don’t have to pretend to get along at holidays and family gatherings.
You don’t have to ignore past hurts and ruptures.
You don’t have to accept a lack of closeness and understanding.
That’s where I come in.
We can work together – with or without other family members – to change and improve your relationship with your family.
Intentional Family Relationships
“I’ve long since retired and my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, I’d like to see you if you don’t mind
He said, I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me”
– Harry & Sandy Chapin, “Cat’s In The Cradle”
Move forward in your relationships by intentionally choosing what you want that relationship to be.
Alter relationship dynamics by consciously choosing what’s the most important legacy to leave future generations.
“You can’t choose your parents.”
A phrase used by children – usually in deprecation or embarrassment.
But really, you kind of can.
When you’re a baby, you can’t choose the family you’re born or adopted into.
But once we’re adults, the power dynamic shifts.
When you’re an adult, having a relationship with your parents is optional.
You’re no longer tied to your family with a need for survival or sustenance – you’re free to go.
This idea may come as a shock to you, because most of us don’t even realize this choice exists.
We continue on without giving it much thought and often end up, unintentionally, recreating the same dysfunctional dynamics generation after generation.
“I will try to connect all the pieces you’ve left
I will carry it on and let you forget
I’ll remember the years when your mind was still clear
All the flickering lights that filled up this silent house”
– Neil Finn, “Silent House”
Another huge shift comes to families when a parent requires daily help because of cognitive or physical difficulties.
SO many questions, SO many options and for most people, navigating next steps are overwhelming:
Home or Senior Community?
Who’s going to manage their affairs?
What if they don’t want help?
How can we afford this?
The pressure is heightened for those sandwiched between eldercare and caring for their children and work.
Not to mention all the emotions that come with these things: anxiety, sadness, loss, regret, confusion, anger, helplessness, etc.
A shift like this can wreak havoc for families.
Pitting sibling against sibling, parents against siblings – they each try to find a solution without stopping to listen to their feelings, or each other.
An already heart-wrenching situation becomes heartbreaking.
The years I spent working in Senior Living gave me invaluable experience, and I am honored to continue helping families like yours navigate these situations.
I’ll educate you about options, connect you with resources, listen to you, and help you listen to each other.
You can get to a place that preserves dignity and relationships.
Have you already negotiated the first part, but find yourself depleted and bogged down in caregiving?
That is an extremely challenging role.
Whether you’re responsible for direct care or not, you walk the tightrope…
…between efficiency and appearing domineering…
…between keeping her safe and supporting her independence…
…between planning for the worst and hoping for the best…
…between appearing carefree and capable, and turning into a little girl again who just wants to crawl in her Mother’s lap.
I get it. I’ve been there.
You need caregiving, too. That’s what I’m here for.
Grief and Loss
“Headlights staring at the driveway
The house is dark as it can be
I go inside and all is silent
It seems as empty as the inside of me
I’ve had some time to think about you
And watch the sun sink like a stone
I’ve had some time to think about you
On the long ride home”
– Patty Griffin, “Long Ride”
Death is a funny thing.
Don’t you think it odd that the one thing we can be sure of seems to always take us a bit by surprise?
Maybe the surprise is that a person’s death affects each of us differently, and at different times in our lives.
It reminds us of our own mortality.
Grief has many layers.
You think you are “over it,” and then there it is – like a punch in the gut that takes your breath away.
And the tears are back with a vengeance.
There are also many layers of meaning and emotion involved in the loss of your loved one – financial, existential, familial, resentment, anger, guilt/shame, regret, and deep sadness.
You could also grieve the loss of your family home, and the beloved traditions that may or may not continue now.
Our society doesn’t really make space for grief.
Oh, sure, you get a couple days off work.
But soon, those around you are back to the grind. And for some reason you can’t understand, they can’t see the gaping hole in your heart…in your life.
You’ll find space here.
Safe, welcoming, understanding-you-when-you-ugly-cry space.
Together we’ll sort through all you’ve lost, understand it, cry for it, rage at it, honor it, and forgive it.
You can relax, regroup, and recalibrate. You can choose to carry the best, most cherished parts of them with you.
Whether you’re dealing with family discord, taking on the role as caregiver, or struggling with grief and loss, there’s support to get through it. Call me now. (512) 633-1994