Family therapy is a critical component within therapy. Stone Creek’s therapeutic model, created by the owners and directors, puts family therapy front and center, as an integral and essential treatment modality for all clients.
The family therapy program has proven to be the most critical and successful component of all treatment at Stone Creek. Our philosophy is unique, in that we do not view family therapy as “brief solution therapy.” It is a process, rather than a solution. Our family therapy program involves more than the improvement of family communication. The mental health issues or struggles of one individual are frequently a projection of the family’s struggles and will have an impact on the entire family system.
Our clinicians are trained to hear the language of the family and observe the interactions of each individual to understand how each person contributes to the systemic dynamics of the family as a whole and how to bring about their desired changes. Our family therapy program supports each individual family member to evolve emotionally and spiritually. As the family system begins to evolve, so too will each individual within the family. Change often occurs at different levels and different periods of time and may not be immediately recognizable by the individual or other family members. Our clinicians are trained to recognize and support the level of change occurring for each member of the family.
Family therapy is an integral component of the treatment plan for each individual client when they begin therapy. However, family therapy services is often the first line of treatment requested by the family or recommended by the courts for a number of issues, including:
- Premarital or recent marriage
- Blended family issues and concerns
- Death, Illness, or a traumatic event experienced by one or more family members
- Demands of caregiving on a family
- Divorce, parental conflict between divorced parents, parent-child reconciliation, and parent alienation
- LGBTQ+ therapy
- New employment, unemployment, or a move related to employment
- Anger or violence within the family
- Addiction issues within the family or extended family
- Anticipated or recent birth within the family
- Significant changes within the family, such as a family member moving in or out of the house
- Parent-child conflict
- Sibling conflict
The Benefits of Family Therapy Services
Family therapy is the first level of therapeutic integration, and it gives our clinicians the opportunity to understand the concerns and perspectives of all family members. The clinicians are also able to observe their interactions and learn the language unique to the family. Our clinicians are trained to observe the emotional reactions and responses of each family members, which are often an indication of struggles within both the individual and the family. The positive aspects of the family system may be understood by our clinicians, as well.
Our clinicians support each family member to move beyond typical thinking or reactions related to unconscious feelings, as well as traditional notions of family relationships. During this process, the family system becomes healthier and individual family members experience a greater sense of peace within the family.
Our therapists recognize that family therapy is a process and not a fix. They understand the importance of the development of “trust” in each member of the family system with the clinician. The process will take longer for some family members and for some families. By utilizing the language of each family and engaging with the family members without judgement and a true understanding of the process, there will always be success in trust development. As the family members experience this trust with the therapist, the internal trust within each family member and the trust with each other begins to develop.
Our family therapists are utilizing an advanced skill level with the family that is beyond what many family therapists have been previously taught about “teaching communications skills.” While the therapist begins to understand the language of the family, they utilize the family language to support them to evolve emotionally with the use of their language from a new place of awareness and consciousness, resulting in improved communication in the family. While they will create a new way of communicating within the family, the communication skills that are being taught by the therapist are based on the language of the family members. This allows the change within the family to occur faster and with a new level of understanding of their ability to empower themselves with communication that creates mutual kinship and spiritual partnerships.
A major and important benefit to those participating in family/systems therapy is “collaborative therapy.” Our therapists are working with a team that works collaboratively with individual clients and families. There is always a team of therapists who are available to work together with a family and/or provide additional perspectives to the therapist about the family. The staff participates weekly in clinical meetings to receive feedback regarding family interventions and their work with clients. In addition, the directors and advanced clinical members are always available to provide support, feedback, and at times continued education in the field of family therapy. We recognize the benefit of collaboration with other therapists outside of Stone Creek as well as with physicians and educators involved with the family.
We are passionate about our family therapy program and the success we have with our families. We are driven to maintain a vision, within the mental health field that family therapy is a critical instrument of change for those struggling with mental health.
Traditional books and classes on communication in addition to clever techniques presented by many family therapists with quick fixes often leave the clients feeling a greater sense of hopelessness. In addition, they frequently conclude the family therapy process does not work.
Our directors have extensive education and training in the field of family therapy. Dianne W. Appolito studied with world-renowned family therapist, Dr. Harry Goolishian. A pioneer in the field of family therapy, Dr. Goolishian founded the Galveston Family Institute and the Houston Galveston Institute. He was responsible for the expansion of systems therapy and the creation of multiple impact therapy. Ms. Appolito engaged in extensive therapy training and externships at the Galveston Family Institute and Hope Center for Youth, where she learned how to utilize the family system to support the greatest degree of therapeutic change. Dana Debes had extensive training in family therapy and other treatment modalities at Psychiatric Services of Houston in the early 80’s. She acquired additional training and experience in family therapy in her work at West Oaks Psychiatric Hospital, West Houston Hospital, Houston International Psychiatric Hospital and Belle Park Psychiatric Hospital.