By the time a client contacts me to initiate therapy, they have typically suffered an extensive amount of pain. Although most have attempted to implement a variety of corrective actions prior to seeking therapy, their efforts often fail to resolve the problem. Virginia Satir, a pioneer of the field of marriage and family therapy, indicates in her book titled "Conjoint Family Therapy" the concept that family therapists deal with family pain.
The conditions which clients disclose vary to the extent that each family is unique. However, the pain and suffering which I see is replicated time and time again. While pain can feel unbearable at times, the hope of a process of healing through therapy is possible. From my perspective, emotional pain is very similar to physical pain. It is an indication of emotional injury, and often requires specific attention in order to resolve and then transform the pain.
Just as many physical interventions are painful to endure before healing takes place, so it is with talk therapy. Typically, the most important aspect of therapy is the environment of healing which is unlike any other social setting we have access to. Knowing that you can expose the most threatening pain, and another caring person who is trained to remain present in your pain, creates the conditions for people to radically accept, sit with, expose, and then heal from the emotional pain which can be so debilitating and constricting.
To hear more about how pain is manifested in families, and how family therapy can help, feel free to click on the following audio file to hear Dr. Alonzo explore the most central dynamic in family therapy.....dealing with family pain.
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