It's what matters
Family Counseling looks at the family as a whole –not on the individual elements of the whole. Family Counselors observe the interactional patterns of the family.
Family Counselors look at the structure of the family. They examine how the family is organized.
Family Counselors ask, what are the rules in the family? Rules are the stated and unstated guidelines for the way a family will function. These become established through repetition.
What are the roles of the family? Roles are functions performed by someone in a familiar situation. Roles are expressed through interaction with other family members. Similar to rules, roles can healthy or unhealthy. They can facilitate family functioning or hinder it.
Family Counselors will look at the rituals in the family. These are the customs that help to establish a family identity and continue the family customs.
What is the hierarchy of a family? This is an important focus of the family counselor. Hierarchies are the ordered subsystems within a family. These are defined by tasks and functions. For example, parents usually are at the top of the hierarchy and hold most of the responsibility for family members’ well being.
Family Counselors will look at the boundaries in a family. Boundaries are artificial lines that indicate limits in a family.
Family Counselors also look at communication patterns and stability and change. How stable is the family in terms of life cycle transitions? How do they handle change?