By Karla K. Chamberlain, MA, LMFT
I don’t believe there is a family that has ever existed that has not had family pain. It’s part of our mortal existence.
It’s part of the formula for growth.
A family environment is perfect for learning love, loyalty, forgiveness, mercy, kindness, selflessness and solidarity. It’s the breeding ground for courage and strength. Families can be beautiful and bizarre, and each is a delicious mix of flavor and texture, creating its own recipe.
Just as there is no individual quite like another, no two families are alike.
Regardless of family unity, there are times when even the strongest relationships are strained and can benefit from meeting with a professional to overcome challenges. Family therapy assists with establishing healthy boundaries, strengthening cohesion, improving communication and problem solving, navigating life’s transitions, dealing with illness, and increasing empathy and understanding.
My work with families brings me joy. I’ve been a therapist for 18 years and each year brings more depth and understanding of the intricacies of systems. My own family of origin had definite challenges, but with hard work, devotion, education and a good dose of grit, we not only survived but have healed and are thriving!
This experience with my own family is what launched me into my career and is what has given me the foundation, hope and knowledge that post-trauma growth is real.
I love to garden. I feel immense peace and pure pleasure growing food and bringing it to my kitchen. When I think of my family, I imagine it being a big, fantastic, multi-colored, flowering perennial with ever-growing and ever-changing blossoms. Although it takes watering and tending, careful watching, weeding, and the ritualistic ridding of harmful insects and pests, in the end, it affords us an endless bounty and incredible beauty.
Being in the position to help families create plan of action to get where they want to be and then supporting them in the plan’s implementation is what I do.
In therapy, we laugh, we cry and we ponder and process together. We share, listen and learn. It’s an incredible gift to be invited into these very personal units. Using systems therapy and encouraging compassion we move toward higher, healthier ground.
If one or more members of your family is struggling to cope, if there seems to be withdrawal, less communication and/or feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, and if you see a sudden change in behavior, now is a good time to reach out for professional help. I named my business LifeFamilyMatters (LifeFamilyMatters.com) because life and family matters are always present and they do matter!
Karla K. Chamberlain, MA, LMFT is a native of Texas. She has five children and eight grandchildren who add immeasurable joy to her life. For more information, visit lifefamilymatters.com