Because the process of separation and divorce leads to the end of a nuclear family, family therapy for divorcing families strikes many as an oxymoron. What would be the purpose of helping a family communicate and function better if the family is ending? But while loss and endings are inherent in separation and divorce, the process is also one in which families families reorganize, establish new patterns of relating, and find new roles and tasks for individual family members. Family therapy can be a powerful tool for families to attend to these tasks. [Read more…]
Welcome to Our Blog!
This blog is written by the clinicians at Jonah Green and Associates, a mental health practice based in Kensington, MD that provides quality services for children, teens, families, and adults. It is intended as a resource for families who are seeking to expand their knowledge about mental health and mental health services, and also as a resource for families who are seeking quality mental health services, especially in the mid-Atlantic region. Please feel free to post questions and comments on any of the entries as well as on any topics or articles from our companion web site www.childandfamilymentalhealth.com.
Stepfamilies, here defined as a union that includes at least one child, a biological or adoptive parent, and a new partner, face many distinctive challenges. Unlike first marriages, most stepfamilies form in the wake of losses such as divorce or death. The structure of a stepfamily, as distinct from first marriages, typically includes “insider-outsider” coalitions; children and their biological or adoptive parent nearly always have stronger ties than those between stepparents and stepchildren. Many children feel threatened by arrival of a stepparent. Unlike most couples in first marriages, couples in stepfamilies do not have opportunities to develop their relationship before raising children; at the same time, raising children is usually more complex because the stepparent’s role in parenting is usually initially unclear. When stepfamilies form in the wake of of divorce, there is nearly always “another household” to contend with that can threaten the integrity of the stepfamily unit. [Read more…]
If you are a parent of a child with an intellectual, learning, or developmental disability such as autism or Down Syndrome, you probably face particular challenges as your child approaches adulthood. Whereas parents of typical children face the challenge of the “empty nest syndrome”, you may be struggling to help your child grow in independence, even as you face an increased burden of care. As your child ages out of a full-time school program, available resources generally become both less available and less coordinated. The task of maximizing your child’s independence and relieving the burden of caretaking may begin to feel urgent. [Read more…]
The teenage years can be a demanding time for both youth and their families. Adolescents face increasing academic responsibilities and new social pressures, even as they grapple with rapid physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. While some thrive in the face of these challenges, other teenagers begin to experience difficulties. Depression, anxiety, poor school performance, eating disorders, substance abuse problems, and conduct issues all may manifest themselves during the teen years. Conflict within families may increase as teenagers alternately reject adult direction, demand more privileges, and engage in risky and irresponsible behavior. [Read more…]