Family is everything, but every family deals with hardships. If you choose to focus on family dynamics in your behavioral health degree program, you’ll graduate well-prepared to guide couples and families through their challenges. It’s an ideal career path for compassionate individuals who feel called to serve Christ by supporting families in their communities.
Identifying Psychological Issues Within a Family Context
Mental health disorders affect millions of children and adults. Sometimes, problems with relationships and family dynamics stem at least in part from underlying mental health disorders. As a behavioral health technician, you’ll learn how to identify the potential symptoms of psychological disorders and apply diagnostic criteria. Behavior health counselors also provide education to families about why their loved one behaves a certain way and provide guidance on how they can support their loved one’s mental health treatment.
Dealing with Adverse Life Circumstances
Acute and chronic stressors can take a heavy toll on relationships. Couples are more apt to experience relationship problems when the family is challenged by difficult life circumstances, such as job loss, financial trouble or legal problems. Even the stress of caring for a child with special needs or the addition of a new member of the family can cause relationship problems. As a behavioral health provider, it will be your role to help these individuals remember that they’re all on the same team. You can guide them as they relearn how to support and comfort each other.
Healing from Substance Abuse
Behavioral health specialists who specialize in family dynamics and couples’ relationships will inevitably work with clients who have been affected by substance use disorders. With regard to the substance abuser, your responsibilities can include:
- Encouraging the individual to enroll in a treatment program
- Providing education regarding the disease of addiction
- Developing personalized relapse prevention programs
You’ll also work with or guide the family as a whole. Substance abuse and addiction affects the entire family and it substantially disrupts family dynamics. The family of a substance abuser needs to learn how to set healthy boundaries, how to rebuild a functional relationship with the addict and how to be supportive without becoming enablers.
Supporting Healthy, Respectful Communication
Respectful and open communication is at the heart of healthy family dynamics. With your guidance, families will understand how what they say and what they don’t say affects their loved ones. They’ll learn how to discuss problems in a productive, non-judgmental manner and how to resolve conflicts peacefully. You may also provide pre-marriage guidance to couples who are determined to have a healthy relationship with open communication right from the start. Living happily ever after isn’t something that happens by itself. It requires a lot of work and as a behavioral health provider, you’ll have the ability to empower couples and families to live in harmony.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.