When your child or family is struggling, you may run yourself ragged trying to find help for them. Taking a step back and getting help for yourself is crucial to the health of the family dynamic. Therapy for you, as a parent, can be helpful in many ways. Not only do you need to take charge of your mental health to be able to help your family, but getting yourself individual therapy can help you understand why you may be struggling and even whether and how your personal issues may be affecting your family.
What Therapy Offers You as a Parent
When your child is struggling with behavioral, psychological, or other problems, it can seem like focusing solely on them should be your priority. You want to ensure they get the care they need. However, your needs don’t just disappear. Often, a parent’s lack of care for themselves can lead to more extensive problems.
Although you may not be struggling with a mental health disorder, therapy offers immense benefits to you as a parent. Full parental involvement and engagement in treating your child’s struggles are vital to the success and effectiveness of their care, but your care for yourself allows you to provide that involvement and engagement.
When your child sees how you invest in yourself and observes your progress through therapy, that boosts their motivation and can break down resistance to treatment. Mental health professionals report that parents with poor mental health are more likely to have children with poor physical, mental, and emotional health, developmental disabilities, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), or poverty.
Attending therapy can help your child’s overall wellness, and the benefits for you are immense as well. Naturally, family therapy can provide guidance and clarity to the family unit, but you might be surprised by the effects individual therapy can have on you as a parent. You can also seek out parent coaching to help you feel more comfortable in your role as a parent of a child in need.
Not only will therapy make you aware of ways you can improve your own behavior, but it can also:
- Help you connect with your child
- Help you build patience
- Help you learn about your child’s mental health disorder
- Help you correct your behavior
- Help you build more self-awareness
- Help you become a more confident parent
- Help you find resources when overwhelmed
- Help you build better bonds with your partner and other family members
These are only some of the many benefits you can gain by undergoing therapy as a parent. Therapy can also help you redefine your identity, something many parents lose as they devote themselves to their children. Therapy can help you seek confidence and independence outside of your role as a parent. You can build up your self-esteem and identity while learning ways to be more present in your child’s life.
While you improve yourself through the help of a counselor, your child may see that growth in you and feel more positively about their own therapy.
How to Get the Most Out of Therapy
Therapy, although immensely helpful, is not a cure-all. It takes time and patience through multiple sessions. Although most people feel relief after their first therapy session, there are multiple ways in which you can ensure you get the most from therapy, especially as a parent.
Pick the Right Therapist
Choosing the right therapist is essential for getting what you need from therapy. If you see a therapist who doesn’t fit with you or who isn’t helping in an area you want to focus on, you won’t be making the most of this time.
Try to find a therapist with experience in parenting or family struggles, or other things that are relevant to your life. Even if you find a “good” counselor, you’re less likely to open up and make progress if you don’t feel comfortable with them. Try a few therapists, and meet a couple before sticking with one.
Don’t just rely on your therapist to know what you need to explore. Engage with the process and prepare yourself for every session so you get the most out of your time as possible. Try to be present for the session and take your time to focus and progress. You also need to be open with your therapist. If you don’t release something that worries you or open up about your struggles or fears, you won’t get what you need.
Ask How It Works
If you’ve never been to therapy, there is no shame in asking how it works. Ask your counselor about their strategy and how they can help you. You won’t always know what to expect, but having a bit of a road map can keep you focused and calm in this new setting.
Do the Homework
Therapy is not just what happens inside the office. You need to take the tools and discoveries you achieve in your sessions into your life. Sometimes, your therapist might ask you to do or think about something between one session and the next. Take these things seriously, and see where they take you.
Havenwood Academy is a residential program for teen and adolescent girls in need of care for attachment disorders, mental health issues, trauma, and substance abuse. We care for your children as if they were our own. Within our program is a large focus on family involvement. Not only do we want you to take an active role in our child’s treatment and progress, but we encourage you to seek therapy yourself so that you are growing with your child. This can help your child feel motivated to continue with their own improvement, improve your connection with her and the rest of your family, as well as help you feel more in tune with yourself. We are here to help you, your daughter, and your family heal and ultimately thrive. Call us at (435) 586-2500 now to learn more about our program.
Think Havenwood Might Be For You?
We encourage any visitors considering placing their daughter in treatment to fill out our online assessment as soon as possible. This two minute form will give our admissions team all the information needed to determine if your daughter is a good fit for our program.