Dysfunctional Families Can Make Psychotherapy Fail, Research Says

Families Can Make Psychotherapy Fail
  • Recent research revealed that unsupportive families can make psychotherapy fail.
  • Experts also recommended ways to balance hostile families and therapy sessions to prevent unsuccessful therapies.

If Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s “mental health confessions” are anything to go by, it is the story of a mental health struggle that apparently lacked family support.

The royals’ documentation of their struggles in the autobiography Spare and their Netflix series exposed the underlying trauma and poor mental health that came with being members of the world’s most powerful family.

The “therapy talks and sessions” that accompanied the publicity of the works, besides laying bare brotherly rivalries and racism claims, also revealed the downsides of psychotherapy.

Unsurprisingly, Harry’s sister-in-law, Catherine The Princess of Wales, in the same week of his controversial memoir’s launch, said in an engagement: “Talking therapies don’t work for some people, they’re not for everybody. It’s so important to have a range of therapies.

Her comments might have raised a few eyebrows. But, being a pioneering mental health advocate, she appeared to acknowledge the pitfalls of psychotherapy, the central role of family support in its success, and its hotly-debated so-called “success rates”.

The Success Rates Of Psychotherapies

Psychotherapy is a form of talk therapy that helps people with mental health disorders to cope with their issues. It is a treatment that can be provided by trained therapists and mental health professionals.

Research and clinical practice have shown that psychotherapy is effective in treating various mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

However, in some cases, experts have acknowledged that psychotherapies may not work. This can be attributed to factors such as:

  • Lack of patient motivation
  • Poor therapist-patient relationship
  • Ineffective therapy techniques
  • Treatment-resistant comorbid mental health conditions
  • Cultural differences between the patient and therapist that impact therapy sessions
  • Lack of family support throughout treatment and recovery

Dysfunctional Families And Unsuccessful Psychotherapies

A dysfunctional family is a family unit in which the relationships between family members have stained relationships, lacking in affection and support.

In most cases, the family dynamic is characterized by emotional neglect or abuse, physical threats, manipulation, and deprivation. This type of family environment can contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for these issues, but it can be challenging when the family is not supportive. In many ways, opposing families can make psychotherapy fail. Dysfunctional families are generally scattered and conflicting in nature, making it difficult for the mentally ill to avail professional help.

The latter also end up feeling unsupported and are unable to make progress. This lack of support can hinder the effectiveness of psychotherapy and lead to unsuccessful patient outcomes.

Why Does Psychotherapy Fail Without Family Support?

Psychotherapy is a collaborative process that involves the patient, therapist, and, in some cases, the patient’s family. When the family is unsupportive or disengaged, it can be challenging for the patient to make progress. This lack of familial support can manifest in several ways, including:

  • Stigmatization of mental health
  • A negative attitude and hesitant response toward availing therapy
  • Underestimating the value of therapy and psychiatric medication
  • Reluctancy in acknowledging the family’s part in the development of disorders
  • A lack of communication, criticism, and invalidation
  • Fear of violating the family’s privacy
  • Inability to accept changes and challenges
  • Ostracization and loss of privileges

When a patient is unable to communicate with their family, it can be challenging to address underlying issues that may be contributing to their mental health disorder.

Additionally, criticism, invalidation, and non-participation from family members when it comes to therapy sessions can lead to feelings of shame and inadequacy—making it difficult for the patient to make progress.

How To Balance Your Family And Therapist This National Counseling Awareness Month

National Counseling Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of mental health, the benefits of therapy, and the significance of familial and social support in aiding recovery. If you are in therapy and have a dysfunctional family, it is essential to find a balance between your therapist and your family.

One of the most effective initial steps includes setting healthy boundaries and communicating your needs and expectations to your family.

Under unavoidable circumstances, you may also limit your interactions with problematic family members and set guidelines for communication. You can also try finding support outside of your family. This can include joining a support group or finding a mentor who can provide guidance and advice.

Acknowledging that you are facing mental health problems and making the decision to talk to a therapist can be challenging, even more so if your family is unsupportive of your emotional struggles.

Therefore, it is essential to find a balance between your therapist and your family and establish boundaries to ensure that you have the mental health support you need to heal and make progress.

Know More About –

  1. Psychotherapy
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  3. Couples Therapy
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  • Dysfunctional Families Can Make Psychotherapy Fail, Research Says