Family counselling has mostly been about helping families cope with problems. Families come to therapy with deep challenges, and a need to be heard. They want to figure out what is going wrong and what needs to be fixed. As a family therapist I have done a lot of thinking about problems. Family Therapists generally think in terms of problem, symptoms, causes, solutions, action plan. While it is deeply important to witness and understand the challenges families face, it has been my experience we can get overly focused on analyzing, examining and investigating the problem, on blaming, on fixing.
So what if we were to change the focus? What if instead of focusing on all the aspects of the problem we put on new lenses and started to focus clearly on what needs to grow within your family or marriage system. What you focus on grows! Rather than focusing your child’s inattentive behaviours focus on behaviors you want to grow. Rather than focusing on your anger or worry, focus on tools to build calmness. Rather than focusing on your teen’s rudeness, focus on ways you can build relationship. Rather than focusing on what is going wrong, begin to imagine what you want to achieve. This brings us to building relationships, noticing strengths and creating a vision of what you want to become.
Many Child and Adolescent Counsellors and Family Counsellors are beginning to offer more strength based forms of counselling which are appreciative, positive and affirming. At Thrive for Change my philosophy of Appreciative Family Counselling is based on the foundation of looking within to uncover values and strengths, through mindfulness examining our inner reactions, and using the idea of what you want to grow as an insightful and powerful focus tool to grow families.