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Family Therapy Tips

Dysfunctional Family - Know Its Impact On A Child!

Dysfunctional Family - Know Its Impact On A Child!

A dysfunctional family comprises of destructive and harmful parenting along with a persistent lack of concern for the child. The harmful effects that a dysfunctional family wreaks on a child often go unnoticed and unacknowledged. In most cases, no action is taken to rectify the situation or to minimize the negative effects on the child.

When the distress caused to the child is severe and long-drawn, it may lead to the development of psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. If these conditions are not treated, they may affect the child for the rest of their life. Below are different types of a dysfunctional family and its impacts on the child:

  1. There are families where either one or both the parents are drug or alcohol addicts or possess some other kind of addiction. These addictions may cause the parent to pass out or go missing for extended spans of time, behave unexpectedly, or cause acute financial hardship for the family. Children belonging to such families grow up to be distrustful adults who believe others to be unreliable and untrustworthy.
  2. Children hailing from families where the parents are getting divorced are often used as pawns. The parents who are divorcing often try to turn the child against the other one, say negative things about the other parent, inhibit the child from communicating with the other parent, or coercing the child to reject the other parent altogether. Such children develop various types of mental problems when they grow up. These problems could cause irrational self-blame, self-loathing, and even drug dependence.
  3. There are families in which volatility and violence are predominant. Children coming from such families are also at the risk of manifesting similar behaviour patterns. When the child grows up, he or she may become rebellious and manifest anti-social behaviours such as picking up fights with peers, vandalizing property, bullying others, truancy and dropping out of an educational institution.
  4. Some children are forcibly detached from their parents’ care owing to various reasons such as being taken into care by someone else or sentenced to juvenile detention. Such children also tend to be unsocial when they grow up and show unexpected and undesired behaviour patterns.
  5. Children belonging to families where parents have a mental illness, slowly turn into the abyss of depression which, in turn, affects their own psychological development.
  6. On the other hand, families where the parents exercise absolute control over the child and the parents make unprecedented control of their power tend to bring up children who are mentally retarded and sick.

A child hailing from a dysfunctional family often struggles in adulthood due to lack of emotional maturity. Therefore, in the best interest of the child, measures should be taken such that the child grows up to be a healthy, stable, and responsible citizen.

Negative Behaviour In Kids - Parenting Tips To Tackle Them!

Negative Behaviour In Kids - Parenting Tips To Tackle Them!

How can habit disorders affect behaviour?

Most children develop certain repetitive behaviours at an early age, but it is the frequency, persistence or its effects on the overall well-being of the child which could qualify it as a ‘Disorder’. These habits include

  1. Repetitive sucking of the thumb
  2. Biting of the nails
  3. Hitting his own self
  4. Pulling at his own hair
  5. Holding on to his breath just for the sake of it

This refers to the behavioural issues of your child which cause the child to misbehave more often; this can be due to a variety of reasons such as Improper Parenting, Persistent Family problems, Child Abuse or Neglect, or any other incident that has traumatised the child in the past, both Psychological problems or Medical illnesses etc.

Diagnosis & Management of Behavioural Disorders in Children

Disruptive behavioural disorders are complicated and may include many different factors working in combination. For example, a child who exhibits the delinquent behaviours of Conduct Disorder may also have ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, and difficult home life. 

Diagnosis methods may include:

  1. Diagnosis by a specialist: Paediatrician, Psychologist or Child Psychiatrist.
  2. In-depth Interviews with the parents, child and teachers.
  3. Behaviour checklists or standardised Questionnaires.
  4. A diagnosis is made if the child’s behaviour meets the criteria for disruptive behaviour disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders from the American Psychiatric Association.

It is important to rule out acute stressors that might be disrupting the child’s behaviour. For example, a sick parent or victimising by other children might be responsible for sudden changes in a child’s typical behaviour and these factors have to be considered initially.

Preventive Measures:

  1. Respect Others Space - Your child may be very excited to tell you about some special event or happening in school, but teach him not to interrupt you when you are at work. He must learn to respect other people’s space and have patience while dealing with people. Otherwise, he would not be able to take rejections and thus be inconsiderate in his attitude.
  2. Adjustment with Peers - Monitor how he behaves with his playmates. Stop him when he happens to fight with his playmates or fights with them aggressively and teach him how exactly to behave with people.
  3. Firm Discipline - You should deal with stubbornness with a bit of high-handedness. Look at your child right into the eye and tell him what is expected of him. Be tough, but not rude.
  4. Balance Independence - Monitor his use of PCs, laptops and mobiles. Well, that doesn’t mean you need to loom over everything he does on his gadget, but do try to watch over the content whether it is inappropriate or not. But remember to never really pry and barge into his privacy. Respect that and you can still humour him.

Treatment of behavioural disorders in children

Untreated children with behavioural disorders may grow up to be dysfunctional adults. Generally, the earlier the intervention, the better the outcome is likely to be.  Treatment is usually multifaceted and depends on the particular disorder and various factors contributing to it, which may include:

  1. Parental education – For example, teaching parents how to communicate with and manage their children.
  2. Family therapy The entire family is helped to improve communication and problem-solving skills.
  3. Cognitive behavioural therapy – To help the child to control their thoughts and behaviour.
  4. Social training – The child is taught important social skills, such as how to have a conversation or play cooperatively with others.
  5. Anger management The child is taught how to recognise the signs of their growing frustration and given a range of coping skills designed to defuse their anger and aggressive behaviour. Relaxation techniques and stress management skills are also taught.
  6. Support for associated problems – For example, a child with a learning difficulty will benefit from professional support.
  7. Use of Reinforcement – Many children with behavioural disorders experience repeated failures at school and in their interactions with others. Encouraging the child to excel in their particular talents (such as sport) can help to build self-esteem using positive reinforcements both verbal and non-verbal.
  8. Medication – To help control impulsive behaviours if required so.

Dysfunctional Family - How Can It Impact A Child?

Dysfunctional Family - How Can It Impact A Child?

A dysfunctional family comprises of destructive and harmful parenting along with a persistent lack of concern for the child. The harmful effects that a dysfunctional family wreaks on a child often go unnoticed and unacknowledged. In most cases, no action is taken to rectify the situation or to minimize the negative effects on the child.

When the distress caused to the child is severe and long-drawn, it may lead to the development of psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. If these conditions are not treated, they may affect the child for the rest of their life. Below are different types of a dysfunctional family and its impacts on the child:

  1. There are families where either one or both the parents are drug or alcohol addicts or possess some other kind of addiction. These addictions may cause the parent to pass out or go missing for extended spans of time, behave unexpectedly, or cause acute financial hardship for the family. Children belonging to such families grow up to be distrustful adults who believe others to be unreliable and untrustworthy.
  2. Children hailing from families where the parents are getting divorced are often used as pawns. The parents who are divorcing often try to turn the child against the other one, say negative things about the other parent, inhibit the child from communicating with the other parent, or coercing the child to reject the other parent altogether. Such children develop various types of mental problems when they grow up. These problems could cause irrational self-blame, self-loathing, and even drug dependence.
  3. There are families in which volatility and violence are predominant. Children coming from such families are also at the risk of manifesting similar behaviour patterns. When the child grows up, he or she may become rebellious and manifest anti-social behaviours such as picking up fights with peers, vandalizing property, bullying others, truancy and dropping out of an educational institution.
  4. Some children are forcibly detached from their parents’ care owing to various reasons such as being taken into care by someone else or sentenced to juvenile detention. Such children also tend to be unsocial when they grow up and show unexpected and undesired behaviour patterns.
  5. Children belonging to families where parents have a mental illness, slowly turn into the abyss of depression which, in turn, affects their own psychological development.
  6. On the other hand, families where the parents exercise absolute control over the child and the parents make unprecedented control of their power tend to bring up children who are mentally retarded and sick.

A child hailing from a dysfunctional family often struggles in adulthood due to lack of emotional maturity. Therefore, in the best interest of the child, measures should be taken such that the child grows up to be a healthy, stable, and responsible citizen.

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Dissociative Amnesia - What Should You Understand?

Dissociative Amnesia - What Should You Understand?

In many cases, the body responds to a stressful or traumatic situation by disassociating with it. This can result in the development of a dissociative disorder. A dissociative disorder or dissociative amnesia is a mental illness that involves the breaking down of memory, consciousness, identity and perception. It can interfere with a person's general functioning, social life and relationships. People suffering from dissociative amnesia can have long gaps in their memory of the accident and the time before and after it. 

Women are at a higher risk of suffering from this condition as compared to men. It has also been found to have a genetic link as people suffering from this condition often have other members of their family who experience something similar. Manmade and natural disasters such as wars, floods, earthquakes etc that cause overwhelming stress is said to trigger this disease. 

The inability to recall past events is a primary symptom of this disease. Other symptoms include:

Treatment for this disease is a two step process. The first step involves relieving symptoms and controlling any behavioral changes. The second step aims at helping the person to recall and process their memories. Developing coping skills and rebuilding relationships is also focused on. Depending on the individual and the severity of symptoms showcased a doctor may choose to treat the patient using any of the following forms of treatment. 

  1. Psychotherapy: This form of treatment is designed to encourage communication and give the person insight into their problems. It uses a number of psychological techniques. 
  2. Cognitive therapy: Changing dysfunctional thinking patterns and their resulting emotions and behavior patterns is the focus of this form of treatment.  
  3. Medication: Dissociative amnesia patients who also suffer from depression or anxiety can benefit from medication such as anti depressants and anti anxiety drugs. However, this medication does not treat the dissociative amnesia itself. 
  4. Family therapy: In some cases, along with the patient it is also necessary to counsel the family. Family therapy involves educating the family members about the disorder and symptoms of recurrence. 

Clinical hypnosis: This type of treatment uses intense relaxation and focused attention techniques to access the unconscious part of the mind and allow people to explore their thoughts, emotions and repressed memories.

How To Help A Friend Or Family Member With Depression?

How To Help A Friend Or Family Member With Depression?

Depression follows the trajectory opposite to contentment. It has adverse effects on a person's mental and physical health. Being depressive is not a choice; it is a condition. The fact that despondency is not an elected way of life is a mystery to many. People surrounding a depressed person should make conscious efforts in treating them with love and dignity. Subjecting a person to strict deadlines, stringent rules or excessive pressure could worsen their situation.   

Ways to tackle a depressed family member:-

1. Create occasions to enjoy a hearty laugh- If you have a family member suffering from depression you should probably share the benefits of laughter with him or her. Laughter is the best medicine to remedy acute depression. Look for opportunities to crack a joke or make the concerned person play with a pet. 
You can also take the person to watch humorous movies.

2. "You are impossible" is the worst way of approaching a problem- In many cases a depressed person is reported with instances of negativity. Though the expressed negativity makes you feel morbid, do not give up on your family member. The person involuntarily finds reasons to feel hopeless. You should never think the case is beyond any kind of betterment.
  
3. Keep them in a positive environment- Positive ideas can counter dejection. Help the person plan for a great future. Lay stress on how important that person is to you and to the world in general. Keeping one's mind creatively occupied can prove to be effective. Music or any other passion for that matter can help a person get over phases of depression.

4. You should not associate depression with perpetual sadness- Depression can have plenty of symptoms. The symptoms vary from one person to another. While some people lack motivation some might want to harm themselves or others. Many become recluse. The minute you associate depression with sadness you limit your overview of the actual problem. 
 
5. Help the family member take his or her medicines diligently- While counselling helps a few patients of depression some others require medication. A bout of depression will dissuade a person from sticking to his or her medical routine. As a loved one it is your due responsibility to persuade him or her to take medicines regularly.

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The Effects Of Growing Up In A Dysfunctional Family!

The Effects Of Growing Up In A Dysfunctional Family!

Some families have a destructive core. Children born into these families sometimes may get badly affected by the dysfunction in the family. This is because they do not understand what is happening around them. This can even affect their adult years. Some of the effects of dysfunctional families on children are:

  1. Low Self-Esteem: When children see trouble around them, they often believe that they are the cause of it. Since the actual issue has nothing to do with them, nothing they do improves the situation. This can make them feel like a failure and as though nothing they do is good enough. Over time, this can lead them to develop very low self-esteem.
  2. Self-Destructive Behavior: Children in dysfunctional families are largely ignored and not given the guidance they need. This can make the child act out in the hope of getting noticed or make him turn rebellious. Addiction to alcohol and drugs is often associated with dysfunctional families. The child may also turn to petty thefts, bullying and arson or drop out of school.
  3. StressIn many dysfunctional families, young children are forced to become carers. For example, a divorce can leave one parent mentally unstable and force the child to grow up faster than he or she should. This puts a lot of pressure on the child and exposes them to stress at a very young age. There are many ill effects of stress including a deterioration of physical and mental health and these can be noted in almost all children who belong to such families.
  4. Troubled Relationships: Children learn from what they see. When they are brought up in a dysfunctional family, they begin to believe that this is part and parcel of all relationships. Hence, it may cloud their relationships as adults. When it is their turn to be parents, they may unconsciously inculcate rules and ideas from their own childhood. This furthers the dysfunctional family cycle. On the other hand, children from such families may also grow up to be loners and may have difficulties forming any kind of relationship
  5. Trust Issues: Children growing up in dysfunctional families realize that many situations have two stories associated with them; one that they remember and another that their parents talk about. For example, a child may remember a party at a time when their parents were arguing horribly but the parents may talk about it as a wonderful day. This makes it difficult for children to trust themselves as well as trust others.
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Family Therapy - How Essential Is It For Mental Disorder In Kids?

Family Therapy - How Essential Is It For Mental Disorder In Kids?

Often, issues faced by dysfunctional families take a toll on a child’s mental health, and various factors can lead to a child's mental health problems. Physical and verbal abuse and parental divorce are among other causes of mental health problems in children. Family therapy is one of the proven effective psychiatric procedures that help a child cope with mental health issues, and helps to direct the child’s life.

The Role of Family Therapy - 
Family therapy is also known as family focus therapy or family systems therapy works with families, to help them in dealing with a wide range of family problems. One such problem is a child’s mental illness.

Children, pre-teens and teens are continually going through a developmental phase during their formative years. This is the time when they are most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of life. Sometimes parents are not equipped to deal with the suffering child properly. This is where family therapy can significantly benefit families and children. The psychological process can help children in dealing with major issues such as bad conduct, mood disorders, drug abuse, and eating disorders.

It can include individual sessions amidst a series of family meetings, and when required. At times, even the social networks around families can be included.

Mental Issues That Family Therapy Focuses -
Family therapy offers a possible treatment for a wide range of conditions including a long-term illness such as depression. It is based on two principles. Mental illness is made only worse by a dysfunctional family. Immediate family relationships are the strongest support system for a child. This is what makes them most important during long-term treatments.

Family therapy focuses on treating and molding the way families, and parents interact with the child facing mental issues. It helps in strengthening parent and child bond, and also helps instill faith and confidence in the child dealing with mental issues. All these measures combined to bring the child on the road to recovery.

How Does It Work?
Family therapy is not a time-bound process, so its effectiveness depends on the child and family. The therapy has its various forms and can be integrated with one another, as and when the psychiatrist thinks it is necessary. Among its multiple forms are teaching coping skills, psychoeducation, behavioral models, structural family therapy, systematic models, and solution-focused therapy.

Family therapy has proven most effective during the childhood and adolescent stages, where it has shown significant improvement among children suffering from anorexia, inattention, hyperactivity and severe long-term illnesses such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, drug abuse and anxiety disorders among others. Family therapy can be very effective in a wide range of psychiatric conditions.

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Managing Yourself In A Joint Family!

Managing Yourself In A Joint Family!

Steffy* is a sober girl,lives in a joint family setting trying very hard to be something in life,she wants to be a fashion consultant, one day her uncle comes and starts talking to her in a very demeaning way, only she understands how he talks bad about her career choice, hairstyle, weight, manners. she tried to explain all this to her dad but as in most joint families, her father stops her saying she should respect her uncle and stop thinking too much. Every time her uncle came she felt tensed, he kept praising how well he was doing in life n how outstanding his kids were in school and that she should learn from them, aim something serious in life other than becoming a fashion consultant she should put in efforts in becoming a doctor. Slowly she started losing confidence every time her cousins and uncle came she knew she would be targeted and made fun of, soon she lost interest in academics, she lost confidence and was suffering within her without her knowledge. This girl slowing started staying away from the public and slipped into depression and developed several personality disorders.imagine how simple mocking can be dangerous.

How to figure out who is suffering and how to help them.

  • if otherwise lively person suddenly becomes silent and uncomfortable in the presence of any specific person or group
  • speak politely to people who lack confidence.
  • Don't push them to come out of their shell at ones, be with them talk to them on general topics.
  • Appreciate them for genuine reasons.

How to discover an arrogant relative/ friend

- when they flaunt only their work and their way of doing it.

- when their fun revolves around criticizing others.

- When their sarcasm pinches.

- When they try to demean your work or the nature of the job.

- Self-praise to an extreme limit. ( Narcissist)1

- Mocking you, even if they realize you are not comfortable and not enjoying.

What to do (if you are a sufferer yourself)

As we know some times for the peace of a family we have to bear few unwanted people, we can follow few tips to avoid discord among relatives/friends at the same time keep your sanity in place.

  1. Avoid: out of sight is out of mind if it's possible to miss a trip if such a person is present there.miss it! Your self-respect is in your hands if u find a relative too offensive, avoid him for your respect.
  2. Ignore: if you can't avoid him/her, ignore him.try to be with other people, if he tries to approach talk to him socially and leave his company as soon as possible.
  3. Invisible wall: there are situations you can avoid or ignore such person them at such times make an invisible wall and feel as if he isn't present. work so strongly with your mind that it should take your command of ignoring him even in his physical presence.
  4. Never respond rudely: the best way to deal with arrogant relative/friend when you can't avoid or ignore him is to never reply him back rudely, if u get irritated this will serve his purpose while introducing you to awkward situation, he will walk out smoothly saying he was 'just kidding' and you took it differently. handle smartly.
  5. Never talk bad about him in his absence: when in a family or a friend's circle you have an arrogant person Never ever talk bad about him to others, news travels, it may worsen the situation.
  6. self-respect: start respecting your self the more you respect yourself the more people around you would be accepting and respecting towards you. stay humble but never ever crib about your situation in public.
  7. Try to be happy with things you have: your happiness can be your enemies biggest failure.try to be happy doing small things, help others, stay positive.
  8. Smile and keep few choices to your self: if you Know you are in a situation where people might not understand you or your choices, keep it to yourself, keep your focus straight but maintain silence let time speak for you. Meet everybody with a smile let them be confused.
  9. Be tactful be happy: be true to yourself let an obsessed person be obsessed with himself, you should focus on your aim without letting others know much about it. let your work answer everyone.
  10. Confidence: if you are in the family that is too much into respect your elders irrespective of their being critical stay calm, be confident believe in yourself, stay grounded, work very hard, achieve your dream and shine! 
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How Does Family History Affect Cancer?

How Does Family History Affect Cancer?

The rising incidences of cancer have made it important for us to be vigilant about our health. It has been proven medically that if cancer is detected at an early stage -stage I & II , then the chances of cure and treatment along with full recovery are very high. For early cancer detection & for people at greater risk of cancer, PHC-Preventive Health Care plays a major role. Preventive Health Check is particularly important for the people who have a family history of cancer.

Hereditary Cancers:

Almost all cancers are caused by damage or mutation in their genes, which, may be acquired from environmental exposure, dietary factors, hormones or through normal aging. In 90% of cases, these genes are not passed from parents to children. These are known as sporadic mutations and the cancers that they cause are called as sporadic cancers. But 5-10% of cancers are caused by gene mutations which are inherited from one or both parents & passed on to the children .These are hereditary or germline mutations & these cancers are known as hereditary or familial cancers.

People /children, who carry gene mutations have a higher risk of developing cancer at an earlier age or at some point in their life time.

Some of the common such cancers, which run in families, are:

Breast, ovary & colo-rectal carcinoma have well established gene mutation studies.Mutation of BRCA 1 & BRCA2 Genes is responsible for 85% of hereditary breast cancers.

Estimated life time risk for developing breast cancer in woman with BRCA1 & BRCA2 mutation is 56-87% & risk for developing-bilateral /contralatral breast cancer is about 20-40%. These statistics make a preventive health check for women with breast cancer history in their family a necessity. Mutation in these genes confers about 20-40% increased life time risk for developing ovarian cancer. Hence the presence of gene mutation for breast cancer can trigger ovarian cancer.

However as stated above, other environmental and lifestyle factors can also cause breast cancer other than genetic BRCA1 & BRCA 2 gene mutations.

  • Increasing age
  • Early menarche
  • Late menopause
  • Nulliparity
  • First birth after the age of 30
  • Atypical lobular hyperplasia or Atypical ductal hyperplasia
  • Prior breast biopsies
  • Long term postmenopausal estiogen replacement
  • Early exposure to ionizing radiation

Other Familial Cancers:

Familial cancer syndromes associated with colo-rectal cancers are familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).It is an autosomal dominant inherited syndrome with more than 90% penetrance, manifested by hundreds of polyps developed by late adolescence .The risk of developing invasive cancer is almost 100% .So such patients should start getting colonoscopy at an earlier age- say by 20yr of age & should undergo Total Collectomy on development of significant polyps .

Other familial cancer syndromes are hereditary non -Polyposis Colo Rectal Cancer (HNPCC), Gardner's Syndrome, Turcot's Syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome, Juvenile Polyposis.

Cancer Assessment & Conclusion:

For breast cancer risk assessment, we have the GAIL model & IBIS model, which take into consideration ,all the risk factors, apart from BRCA1 & BRCA 2 gene mutation. These models calculate the over all life time risk of development of breast cancer for any lady. For this, you have to consult a specialist experienced in area of hereditary cancers, cancer risk assessment, genetic counseling & testing.

To conclude, all people with cancers in their family should undergo genetic testing & counseling, to detect high risk individuals should take adequate measures & treatment.

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Marriage - How To Strengthen It?

Marriage - How To Strengthen It?

Marriages very well might be bonds made in heaven, but for all practical reasons, they remain enacted on earth. When two different people meet, it’s the union of two different mind-cultures too. It contains two diverse goals, two different habits of living, dissimilar aspirations & overall different priorities, that needs to be fused to restart a new common journey.

"To know themselves in order to discover the other” is the key here. Most relationships will get strained at some time, resulting in a failure to function optimally and produce self-reinforcing, maladaptive patterns. These patterns may be called "negative interaction cycles".

There are many possible reasons for this, including insecure attachment, ego, arrogance, jealousy, anger, greed, poor communication/understanding or problem-solving, ill health, third parties and so on. Changes in situations like financial state, physical health, and the influence of other family members can have a profound influence on the conduct, responses, and actions of the individuals in a relationship. Marriages require the maximum efforts from both the individuals.

Given the growing concept of individualism and personal independence, people fail to put in or sometimes understand the requirement of working towards their marriage, leaving them searching for an escape route as soon as the going gets tough. Marital issues may lead to major individual psychological problems with each partner trying to hurt the other emotionally as the relationship gets bitter.

Consequently, divorce rates in this country have shown a considerable increase in the past decade. This article should help you figure out some of the ways to save and improve the bond that is marriage while keeping the importance of individualism and personal space in mind-

  • Teamwork: It is essential for both the individuals to work towards their marriage and show equal commitment. With only one person trying to build a better relationship while the other one shows minimal effort and goes astray reduces the sense of belongingness; eventually leading to estrangement.
  • Take Responsibility: Apologize when it’s your mistake and take responsibility for your actions, instead of going around in a continuous loop of the blame game.
  • Keep the Spark Alive: Take out time for each other whenever possible. A simple date night once in a while or a weekend getaway with undivided attention to the partner helps to keep the romance alive in long term relationships which more often than not fades away with time, without effort from the partners.
  • Appreciate: Appreciating the partner’s efforts are probably the most important factor in any marriage. It avoids the individual feeling as though he/she has been taken for granted; which is the root cause of most marital problems.
  • Therapy: Marital therapy is usually beneficial when people are unable to deal with their differences within the marriage. Through marital counselling, you can make thoughtful decisions about rebuilding and strengthening your relationship or going your separate ways. The therapist can help with many specific issues, including communication problems, sexual difficulties, conflicts about child rearing, intrusion from extended family, substance abuse, anger, and infidelity.
  • Marriage counselling might also be helpful in cases of domestic abuse. In a collectivist society like ours, family therapy is usually used because the families of both partners play a major role in their lives. Family therapy is a type of psychological counselling (psychotherapy) that can help family members improve communication and resolve conflicts.
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