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Dutchess_III's avatar

When a person goes in for counseling due to emotional problems, why don't the counselors include other family members as part of the treatment?

Asked by Dutchess_III (38413points) June 24th, 2018

I have a feeling that most people who receive counseling due to emotional issues are in complete denial of how their behavior affects others, especially their children. Their children, in turn, have emotional issues because of the dysfunctional way in which they’re raised, but the dysfunctional parent doesn’t see their behavior as dysfunctional. If the kid develops problems, it’s all the kid’s own fault.
I ran into an acquaintance yesterday who told me her 3 year old son got kicked out of daycare due to his behavior. They were removed from a doctor’s waiting room for the same reason. She swears she doesn’t understand it, he’s just doing “regular 2 and 3 year old stuff.”
He is not just doing regular 2 and 3 year old stuff but apparently she can’t see that, and above all, she can’t see how her behavior is contributing to it. She dangles bright, shiny things in front of him, and when he reaches for them she snatches them away snarling ”NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” ...for no reason other than to prove she’s the boss. She thinks that is normal parenting. Can you imagine the frustration levels the child must experience?
She is in counseling, but how is the counselor supposed to know about these types of problems in her relationships when the patient doesn’t see them as a problem?

So why aren’t other family members included in the counseling? Or at least people with a different POV?

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22 Answers

LadyMarissa's avatar

Bringing in 2 sides would mean that the counselor would actually have to work to earn their pay!!! It’s much easier to tell someone that they are doing everything they can to fix their problem then throw in an “I see this as being a problem” every now & then in order to keep the paying patient coming back without feeling that they are wrong.

I counsel children much like the one you’re describing & I go to the home where I can watch the family dynamics. Often, I can see in the first few hours why the child acts out. The parents don’t like hearing that they are the problem!!! It is much easier to teach the child how to deal with the parent than to teach the parent how to deal with the child.

Very few counselors want to deal with all the dynamics of a family so they can shortcut the process by dealing with only one person.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It is much easier to teach the child how to deal with the parent than to teach the parent how to deal with the child. Wow. Seriously. The older kids have adapted and seem to be doing well. I can only pray for this littlest one.
So…how would you teach a 3 year old how to deal with a clueless parent?

rebbel's avatar

If she’s in counseling, I’m pretty sure that the counselor will see samples of her behavioral pattern (the behavior also directed at her toddler) and act accordingly.
At least, that’s what I would hope.

Also, I understand that we all have the right to have children, but sometimes I doubt why I understand that.
In the Netherlands we have consultation bureau’s, where, in the first few years, the development of the children is monitored (language, physical, nutrition, psychology (?)).
Sometimes I wonder if it would be a good idea to let all future parents go to a future parent school.
I feel sorry for many children, when I see how some parents raise them, or treat them rather.

zenvelo's avatar

Effective therapy is dependent on a level of trust between the client and the therapist. The therapist’s role is to provide feedback as the client explores solutions to their issues.

Family therapy is a different skill set, in which the therapist sets up an atmosphere where each person can share without feeling threatened or coerced. To set that atmosphere, all participants must be at least willing to attend, and must commit to not being vindictive.

…these types of problems in her relationships when the patient doesn’t see them as a problem A good therapist can work through that denial and point out the recurring issue arising from the client’s behavior. They can do so without bringing in a family member to confront the client.

Darth_Algar's avatar

^^^What he said.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@rebbel how could she see it if the child isn’t there, if she’s not interacting with the child? I wish we had consultation bureaus. I guess this question could go to @zenvelo, too. If she doesn’t actually see her interaction, what’s to stop the client from trying to convince her she’s fine and it’s everyone else who has the problems? A good therapist will know better, but it will only be in a vague way.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We ran into them at a bar b que in the park. When I saw them the boy was screaming bloody murder because he wanted to go play on the slide and the swings which were right in front of hm and she would not let him. She just stood there, in front of all those tantalizing toys and dangled them just out of reach for no reason. How would a counselor see that?

anniereborn's avatar

They can sometimes be included in treatment, but only if the client chooses. Also a 3 year old does not belong in treatment with their mother. He may well need counseling at some point, but his mother being there would hurt the situation not help it.

Darth_Algar's avatar


In this hypothetical scenario any interaction between the therapist may see between the parent and child will not be reflective of their day-to-day interactions.

rebbel's avatar

@Dutchess_III I believe that counselors are professional psychologists that are able to right see through certain (socially desirable) behavior.
I don’t know how, but they are.
Just like there are bad bakers there may be bad counselors, of course, but the majority, I think, are very dedicated and emphatic.

janbb's avatar

Some one I know is a troubled young adult and his therapist now has one of the parents come in to the sessions with the client’s permission. I was told that the parents can relate what has been happening when the young adult is in denial.

There are many different kinds of therapy and many different individual styles. No one method is right in all cases.

kritiper's avatar

They may and should. But the main subject might be intimidated by the presence of others making him/her reluctant to speak up/out. Hearing only one side of a story does not help the therapists at all.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was thinking more like interviewing separately. The person with the other POV would be just as reluctant to speak up with what would be seen as criticism.

zenvelo's avatar

…If she doesn’t actually see her interaction, what’s to stop the client from trying to convince her she’s fine and it’s everyone else who has the problems?

That is where the skill and training of a therapist comes in.

And you are missing big piece of the picture: if someone has gone to therapy, they are already recognizing a problem exists. A good therapist doesn’t assign blame, but instead focuses the client on how they can improve their interaction.

And all you see is the kid screaming about playing when you don’t know what has occurred before that point. Maybe he was on restriction? Maybe he had misbehaved prior to your arrival?

seawulf575's avatar

Therapy may include the whole family. Typically, it starts with the individual but could expand.

canidmajor's avatar

Do you know that other family members are not being consulted? Do you feel that the trained and degreed counselor is unable to discern from various sessions what the issues are? Are you privy to the specific concerns that are being addressed? You seem very adamant that you know what is not happening, but do you know for sure what is?

Adagio's avatar

An effective counsellor asks the right questions, questions that given time, lead the counsellee to see her life from a different perspective and realise what is happening, or not. That was always the case with my old counsellor. He asked fantastic questions that enabled me to see things from another angle, and I ended up solving my own issues. And as others have commented, there is family counselling but even your short description would indicate that the woman needs to see her own issues before family counselling would be useful.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

They often do.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, I know for sure @canidmajor.

Thanks @Adagio.

canidmajor's avatar

Oh! I didn’t realize that you were the therapist, @Dutchess_III.
Unless you are the client.

Otherwise, you don’t know.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I do know. Why must you always be so rude?

kritiper's avatar

@Dutchess_III Wasn’t this covered in your training??

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