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Healing from Within: Overcoming Family Dysfunction and Building Healthy Relationships

Family dysfunction can manifest in various forms, such as substance abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, conflict avoidance, enabling harmful behaviors, and more. It can have adverse effects on individual family members' mental and emotional health and can contribute to a challenging and unstable family environment. Recognizing and addressing family dysfunction is essential for fostering healthier relationships and improving the overall well-being of all family members involved.



Familial Dysfunction

While this is not a mental health-related disorder, it contributes greatly to mental health disorders and can even be the root cause. Some examples of issues which contribute to familial dysfunction are emotional abuse, neglect, codependency, enabling and enmeshment. In the case of abuse and neglect, simply being in the presence of the abuser can trigger intense emotional states that can be very difficult to navigate. Other forms are toxic family members and systemic invalidation, both of which can contribute greatly to mental health disorders.


Depression

Often misunderstood, clients are provided with education on depression and depressive thinking, i.e., types, causes, neurobiology, etc. After determining the type, root causes, etc., a treatment plan is developed in collaboration with the client’s primary care physician to ensure they are receiving the best treatment possible. My expertise in health psychology also provides additional avenues that will be explored during treatment, such as how diet and healthy behaviors (and unhealthy behaviors) affect mood and cognitive functioning. A common misconception is that depression can be a life sentence, but with proper treatment and with the support of friends, family and loved ones, it can not only be manageable, it can be overcome.


Substance Abuse

Substance abuse disorders can destroy families, but it doesn’t have to be that way. From providing psychoeducation to the family on what addiction is, what causes it and to exactly what is happening from a neurobiological standpoint, substance abuse counseling is the first step in helping the sufferer raise their awareness as to how their actions are affecting their friends and family and, ultimately, themselves. Like with other disorders which affect the family, counseling is aimed at the family unit and the family learns together about their loved one’s addiction and its root causes and what steps need to be taken to enter treatment/recovery.

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