Family counseling, also called family therapy, is a type of counseling designed to promote better relationships and understanding within a family. The rationale behind family counseling is the belief that the actions of individuals affect their entire family system. For example: an alcoholic parent does not just harm themselves, but also their spouse/partner, and any children as well. The good news, however, is that positive changes in the life of an individual can also positively affect the entire family system.

Family counseling can be effective with only a few sessions, but may require more sessions to resolve significant or ongoing family issues. It is effective because it involves a disinterested third party who does not favor any one member of the family.

Family counseling may be desired as the result of a specific event such as divorce or the approaching death of a family member. It may also be desired when one family member suffers from a mental or physical illness that affects the entire family system.

Family counseling usually occurs with all members of the family unit present, although this is not always the case. One goal of the counselor is to observe interactions between family members. Thus, if two family members get into an argument in a session, the therapist might want to know how the other family members are dealing with the disagreement. The therapist will help the family reflect on better ways of communicating, and offer education and encouragement towards building these skills.

Challenges that can be faced in family counseling include:

  • Communication
  • Parenting skills
  • Blended family issues
  • Step-parenting
  • Health problems
  • Finances
  • Family planning
  • Adoption
  • Challenges associated with mental and physical disabilities
  • Job Loss
  • Death and grief

There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of your family, and our counselors are here to serve the families of Northwest Arkansas.


Waterstone Counseling Center is a full-service family counseling practice that provides a wide range of services for individuals, couples, and families in Northwest Arkansas. » Contact us to learn more