501 – Helping Clients Manage Unhealthy Family Relationships


Helping Clients Manage Unhealthy Family Relationships

A Drama-Free Approach

Every family has a story. For some of our clients, their family of origin provides a solid foundation that feeds their confidence and helps them navigate life's challenges. But for many of the people who show up in our offices, their families are a source of ongoing pain, hurt, and conflict. It’s not always easy to maintain healthy, positive connections with family members who have different ideas about loyalty, love, connection, what’s appropriate to share with one another, and how much influence they believe they should have on a family member’s personal choices. For therapists, it can be hard to know what to do when clients struggle with intense ambivalence about family members, and swing between the extremes of abandonment and enmeshment as they try to navigate painful family relationships. When is a client’s family member too toxic to keep? When is it worth it to heal a longstanding family rift? How do you know when an apparently abusive relationship can be salvaged through healthy communication and boundary setting? In this workshop, you’ll receive clear advice for identifying dysfunctional family patterns and choosing the best path to break painful cycles and move forward. You’ll learn how to:


· Identify the most common presenting problem of clients with dysfunctional family issues

· Help clients understand that they can't change other people and refocus them instead on developing the skills most likely to improve their relationships

· Teach them how to manage difficult relationships by practicing different techniques—such as respectful assertiveness—that can alter negative relationship dynamics

· Reduce the discouragement and fatigue clients often experience as they work through dysfunctional family dynamics by helping them set boundaries and prioritize self-care

Nedra Glover Tawwab, MSW, LCSW, is a NYT bestselling author, licensed therapist, and sought-after relationship expert. She’s the founder and owner of the group therapy practice Kaleidoscope Counseling. She’s appeared on Red Table Talk, The Breakfast Club, Good Morning America, and CBS Morning Show to name a few. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, The Guardian, and Vice and has appeared on numerous podcasts.