Another Home for the Holidays

11 Oct 2014 4:52 PM | Carol A. Bouldin (Administrator)

With the holidays approaching, I am reminded of the importance of community.  For me as a therapist, one of the most difficult clients is one without family.  The lack of family might be due to a courageous choice to not be involved with a toxic family system.  Or, the lack of family might be the result of a rejecting system. The reasons are many. Perhaps it was a divorce, self-absorbed parents, rejection of a lifestyle choice, an emotionally distant non-communicating family, guilt, estrangement, inability to bridge physical distance or reconcile differences, or being the lone survivor of a family. The holidays represent the trek of going to the place we are best known.  The talk, like the food, is familiar and one of comfort.  Humor, like the conflicts, seems to make sense because it comes from a place of shared values. 

 

The double standard that still seems to exist in America, as well as with many of the clients I see, is we still aren't comfortable making families of choice instead of blood.  In America, there is a lot of talk about alternative families, while still remaining in the families with whom we have history.  We as therapists have an opportunity to normalize seeking families of choice for whatever reason family ties have been broken. 

 

I've heard many reports of symptom reduction by being with these families of choice as opposed to being with families of origin A gift our clients can give themselves this holiday season is a new definition of family, one that is based on shared values of love and commitment, true acceptance, and one that enables them to be their best selves and where they can grow.

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