Foster And Adoptive Family Counseling
Is Fighting And Contention Disrupting Your Adoptive Family?
- Do you find it difficult to communicate with your adoptive or foster child?
- Is your child defiant and uncooperative, making it difficult to set boundaries for them?
- Would you like someone to talk to that could help you restore harmony within your family?
Whenever problems in the family arise, it can feel like everything in your life has been thrown off-kilter. If you are a foster or adoptive parent, you might struggle to find common ground with your child and feel at a loss to know how to help them.
Perhaps you have trouble connecting with them on an emotional level because they’re guarded and reluctant to open up to you about how they feel. You can sense your child is struggling with feeling safe and trusting you, and you’re concerned it might be the root cause of why they’re acting out.
Your child may have difficulty regulating their emotions and calming down whenever they’re distressed. Or maybe they’re defiant toward you and your parenting partner whenever either of you tries to set boundaries. They might be falling behind in school or having difficulty getting along with others, including their siblings.
Maybe there’s a strain in your relationship with them because the behavior they are exhibiting has become too much for you to handle. You may find you’re becoming as tired and frustrated as they are at times, which is leading to an impasse between both of you. You’re probably feeling guilty for this reaction but don’t know how to change it.
Fortunately, foster and adoptive family counseling can help you strengthen connection and communication with your child and improve dynamics within your family.
Many Foster And Adoptive Families Need Extra Help And Support
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 437,000 children are currently living in the U.S. foster care system. Research shows that up to 80% of children in foster care have significant mental health issues while approximately 18% to 22% of children in the general population have significant mental health issues (Dore, 2005).
Many children of adoptive, foster and pre-adoptive parents struggle to form healthy attachments to their caregivers/parents. Attachment is difficult for children who have experienced some form of developmental trauma, whether it be abuse, neglect, abandonment, separation, or in-utero exposure to substances or stress. Unfortunately, parents may not always receive the resources and information they need to navigate these complex challenges.
Learning how to facilitate attachment in our foster and adopted children is not a subject that’s covered in mainstream parenting books. The answers and solutions we need vary from traditional parenting models. In other words, conventional methods that work for securely- attached biological children may not be as effective for children who have attachment issues.
In addition to the unique challenges that arise in foster and adoptive families, the demands of living in the Bay Area can be stressful in and of themselves. Trying to balance our work, school, and home lives is hard enough and even more difficult when trying to raise a family. Keeping up with everyone’s schedule and the increased time we spend on our electronics can significantly add to daily stress. Sadly, Silicon Valley has the highest teen suicide rate in the country, more than four times the national average.
If you can help your child understand that you love them and they are safe with you, set boundaries, and know how to address their behavioral problems, then you and your loved ones can come together as a cohesive family unit. When you seek foster and adoptive family counseling, this dream can become a reality.
Counseling Is An Effective Way To Improve Family Dynamics
Here at The Davis Group, our philosophy is that adoptive or foster family counseling can be a turning point in making breakthroughs with your child. Therapy can help children and parents safely work through their emotions without any fear of judgment. We will work collaboratively with your family to create a welcoming environment so that everyone is part of the therapeutic process, focusing on you and your family’s needs. Your family therapist will act as an objective listener who can offer a wider, fresher perspective on your situation and help you find connection-building solutions.
Before the first session, you will complete a confidential intake form. We will review this form together at our initial session to ensure your family therapist has an understanding of the presenting problem. Depending upon the issues you are dealing with, we usually begin therapy with the parents only and transition to family therapy thereafter.
Your child needs a sense of safety and trust, so it’s imperative they trust you and your parenting partner as their caregivers. Tantrums, outbursts, defiance, and acting out are all symptoms of their underlying insecurities and fears of abandonment and rejection. Through psychoeducation, we will help you gain a deeper understanding of the issues underlying your child’s behavior so that you can move on to achieve a more permanent connection with your child.
By teaching you techniques and strategies to address the emotional and behavioral challenges your child is facing, we will identify ways of attaining peace in the household for all family members. Your child will be incorporated into the sessions once you have learned these skills and concepts. The key to working through your child’s resistance is getting to know who they are and why they see the world the way they do. Your therapist will model building a rapport with your child—by demonstrating how to relate to them and foster their trust, you’ll learn how to do it yourself.
Through evidence-based practice, we can create long-term change. Our perspective is based on the latest research in psychology and neuroscience. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a proven method that we integrate with Family Systems Theory and Attachment Theory. This combination of modalities is used to address the influence of early childhood emotional experiences on current relational dynamics. We will help each family member learn to manage their upset feelings by finding new ways of thinking about the challenges they face.
The road ahead may seem long and winding, but you are not alone and there is hope for the future. As their caregiver, you are the most important factor in helping your child heal from attachment insecurities. You will come away from foster and adoptive family counseling with a stronger connection with your child and a better understanding of how to draw healthier boundaries while at the same time building trust and a sense of safety.
But you may still be wondering whether foster and adoptive family counseling is right for you……
I’m afraid of going to family therapy.
Seeing a family counselor can seem scary. There’s a fear of being vulnerable in front of a stranger and having to do the inner work in their presence. It’s brave to admit you and your family need foster and adoptive family counseling. We are here to help guide you through the process with care and compassion. You never have to answer anything you are uncomfortable with, and we will go at your own pace.
What if we can’t afford therapy?
As an out-of-network mental health provider, we can provide an invoice known as a “superbill” in order for you to be reimbursed by your health insurance. Before you schedule an appointment, please contact your insurance provider to determine what percentage of the cost will be covered. Given the issues that everyone in an adoptive or foster family faces, how can you afford not to attend therapy?
We’ve tried family therapy before and it didn’t work.
We have helped many families improve their relationships and find better ways of communicating. At our initial session, you can share with your therapist why your prior therapy experience wasn’t successful. By being flexible and actively listening to your needs, your family counselor can adjust their approach to therapy so that they meet your specific needs as best as possible.