You don’t know what you don’t know, and unless you’ve spent your life closely studying human interactions at the most intimate level, there is going to be a lot about family dynamics that your family counseling clients just won’t understand. That is where content marketing is useful! A blog can help the practice explain to the patients, that they understand their needs and issues. To understand how to form your blog’s voice and tone, how to approach the specific subjects and grow your practice, read below!
Blog voice and tone
It’s important to use the correct tone and voice for addressing your target audience through your blog.
You can start with:
Where your family cleaned the dishes right after dinner as a unit, her family left them in the sink for a little while and assigned kids in the household to finish this chore based on a rotating weekly schedule. Now this may not sound like the root cause of a massive family crisis, but it really can be.
Say one of the children assigned to the chores is having a rough week, and just can’t handle the added stress. Never mind for the moment that a household where doing the dishes adds stress to a week is one that’s doing incredibly well by most standards. In any event, this child’s issues find a sympathetic ear in mom, whose family used to clean up after meals as a group.
But military dad feels otherwise, especially since he saw active combat and had KP duty while enlisted regularly. The way he sees it, taking responsibility is fundamental to maturity—and this is especially true when life gets difficult. He feels leniency here is not only unfair to the other sibling, but something that may hamper mature development for his daughter later on. Now father and mother begin to argue, and their differing upbringings begin to clash.
Explain That Sometimes No One Is At Fault
In this hypothetical four-person household there is no neutral fifth party. Though the issue is small, it could lead to lingering resentment. Say the father of the households firm, plants his foot, and demands the teenaged daughter fulfill this menial obligation. In rebellion, she sneaks out and incidentally becomes pregnant. Now there’s a real issue.
No one is really at fault here, but everyone is pointing fingers. The daughter blames her parents, the parents blame one another, the son blames the daughter, and the truth is, life actually represents the initiating culprit. Unexpected exigencies of living have thrown this family at one another regarding conflict, and something fairly small has ended up initiating a rift which could last a lifetime.
The family in this scenario may not even realize they’ve got a core issue until several years have passed and certain members are no longer on speaking terms. Stranger things have happened! But this is a fairly suburban example. Even more considerable are those times when parental drug use, infidelity, poverty, or abuse enter the picture.
It is your role to explain that and educate your audience through your texts so they can better understand their situations. That doesn’t mean that they will not end up booking an appointment. On the contrary, they will feel as if you understand their problems and will be more inclined to talk to you.
Family Counseling – A Fresh Drink Of Water
The question is – how to sell your family counseling services?
Now, many families continue to operate as a unit without therapy, but sometimes therapeutic assistance through psychiatric counseling is like a drink of necessary water in a marathon race. True, you can train to the point where you’re not going to need water throughout the run; but if you think you’re at this level, and you’re not, you really could end up hurting yourself. Meanwhile, just a little water can give you the strength you need to finish the race.
Explain through your content that the right counselor can sit down with their family, hear everybody’s side of the story, and help family members work toward a resolution of conflict. Perhaps the issue isn’t the fault of anyone, as in the dishes example. Then again, in the case of parental drug use or abuse, perhaps the fault of a family rift has someone who is responsible. And maybe everybody is at fault, and each has their particular pet issue.
In these scenarios, a neutral third-party represents the ideal method of truth delivery.
Someone too close to the situation will necessarily have an emotional response that has an accusatory ring to it. This accusatory communication will naturally be met with a rebuttal that may or may not be just, but certainly doesn’t help heal the wound.
The Family Rock-Tumbler
The truth is, families, act to an extent like a refining fire, or like a rock tumbler. Did you ever have one of those as a kid? You would take a bunch of river rocks, put them in the tumbler, and leave them there for a while. When you checked on them after the appropriate time, they were smooth and beautiful; all the rough edges beat off through the lengthy tumble.
When a young couple has children, they are forced to face head-on their weaknesses, strengths, insecurities, successes, and failures. They’re forced to better themselves. As children grow into adults, they should ideally reach the point where they can become parents. Individual maturity in and of itself takes time and a fair amount of “rock tumbling”, as it were.
Meanwhile, through marriage, procreation, leadership, and eventual maturity, the man, and woman at the head of a house must continually confront their humanity and imperfections. Marital troubles will involve children, money, health, sexuality, community, beliefs, relatives—there are just too many things to list here! These things can easily spill over into the lives of the children, initiating familial disputes and other difficulties.
Many tend to get so caught up in our lives and themselves that sometimes unless someone comes along and points out that “the emperor has no clothes”, as the saying goes, there’s just no way for us ever to realize it. In that way, sometimes therapy’s chief benefit is the simple presence of a neutral third-party who can point these things out. And your first step to do that is to already point some plausible scenarios on your blog.
Taking Steps In The Right Direction
All these things being said, good psychiatrists do more than just tell everybody where their issues lie. Good counselors additionally help a family to take actionable steps toward resolution of those issues.
For example, in the issue of the dishes, the counselor may point out that nobody is truly at fault for the difficulty, and then that counselor may suggest a different way of cleaning up after meals—perhaps as a group.
And that is the silver lining that you are aiming for through your content marketing endeavors.
In the case of spousal, child, or substance abuse, the counselor may suggest treatment programs, rehabilitation, vacation, or even legal measures should there be a dire enough issue. Through an exterior perspective, it becomes possible for a family to begin understanding where they have weaknesses, and where they’re doing well.
It’s important for your readers to understand what kind of approach you will potentially take. That will put them at easy of actually dragging their entire family with them to see you.
Notable benefits of family counseling services include understanding where relational strengths are; as such services provide:
- a non-judgmental and supportive environment
- focus on providing client-centered care,
- an emphasis on identifying individual, couples’, relationship and family strengths.
Understand The Process Of Choosing The Right Psychiatric Care
Keep in mind, the choice of the right psychiatrist is one that should involve more than the location for your clients.
Many potential counseling patients start with looking up therapist directories with reviews. You can likely get listed on a counselor list with this list of Denver psychiatrists if your practice is in Colorado, for example.
If your potential clients are conscientious and have either time or inclination, they should probably look up various psychiatric professionals from lists like the one referenced earlier to determine their background, and what kind of services they provide.
A Genetic Component Worth Explaining
Look at it this way: have you ever seen a cat raised from a kitten in your house and kept indoors for the majority of its life? Have you ever been astonished when that cat instinctively understands how to use the litter box? Or to hunt? Who taught that cat? Nobody; the instinct is built-in to its DNA.
Likewise, humans have certain involuntary instincts built-in—a great example would be circadian rhythm. It has been found that circadian rhythm can be countermanded by will and clever lighting manipulation. Though your body still responds as it did, you can meter when that response takes place based on lighting, food, temperature, etc.
Well, additionally, there are traits inherited in families which may have a genetic component. This genetic component can be overcome, but like with Circadian rhythms, it may take time and energy. The principle is summarized under the term “neuroplasticity.”
Take typing, as a for-instance. Before you learned how you likely were a hunt-and-peck typer. But after a few courses and a little tutoring, you managed to get your typing speed up to 90+ words a minute.
Well, during this process, you were re-wiring your brain. You were creating a neuro-pathway with each keystroke you made that grew new cells and “carved out” a new section of skill in your mind. Incidentally, this required your brain to grow new cells—neuroplasticity.
Implications Of Long-Term Genetic Development
Now, how do you wrap that up in a story to your clients?
If you are the son or daughter of a typist who is themselves a son or daughter of a typist, and this long line of typists structured their entire lives around being the best typing aficionados out there, it’s just possible—even likely—that such a life-goal actually changed their genetics to the level that some component of that skill is passed on to children. As it turns out, what we do and how we live physically changes our DNA—this is the essence of what is now called “epigenetics”.
It’s the whole nature-versus-nurture debate which still rages hotly today, but what both sides of this debate often forget is that both nature and nurture define the individual. What mitigates the pathway a person takes in life is choice—a third variable in the equation that is often ignored.
Educate your potential readers that they can choose to overcome a base nature, and they can choose to become rotten despite the best nurture. Or one could choose to overcome bad nurture and nature in order to become a better individual. Likewise, good nature and excellent nurturing can be rebuffed by their own choice.
And the choice is specifically where psychiatry, as well as psychoanalysis, comes in.
If a family has a head-of-household who is an alcoholic and comes from a long line of alcoholics, then it’s just possible at a genetic level this weakness exists latent in children who have yet to imbibe. If they’re made aware, they can avoid this disease. If they’re not, they may naturally stumble right into it.
Copyright: Olympic / 123RF Stock Photo
Family Development Over Time
The bottom line with any kind of family issue is that your potential clients can’t live your life in a vacuum – and they’re probably in their first stages of realizing that.
Well, they can, but it’s not good for them generally. The family unit should be strong, and from the family unit can come the most financially, economically, psychologically, and even spiritually secure foundations of society.
Like the 12-step program for substance abusers, the first thing a family will need to do is admit there is a problem; otherwise, it can’t be directly addressed. Certainly admittance of fault is something easier to say than to do. It may be impossible without a sensitive, unbiased, professional individual to help the individual.
Sometimes they’ll go to see a therapist, and it turns out there really isn’t an issue; their family unit is just of a rough-and-tumble type.
In these instances, the group session helps solidify someone in his existing personalities and reaffirm his imperfect life. Because when one gets down to it, here’s the truth: all families are dysfunctional.
The Family Counseling Condition: Therapy Is A Choice
Your blog writer should him/herself: is there any human being you’ve ever known that is 100% perfect? That doesn’t trip over bumps in the sidewalk? That doesn’t stub their toe and curse like a sailor? That doesn’t break wind and blame it on an old lady in an elevator? Okay, that’s a crude joke, but you get the point: everybody does things objectively wrong.
There is no perfect individual. There is no one who hasn’t acted selfishly, or in self-interest. All humans do this, and such is core to the human condition.
Every family out there could likely use some level of therapy. Unless that family is a conglomeration of androids programmed to perfection, mistakes will be made, egos will be bruised, emotional fires will be stoked into all-consuming blazes, and the roller coaster of life will continue to oscillate between exceptional peaks and heart-rending valleys.
The message that you should give those families through your blog is – the key in all of this turbulence is actively choosing to work on their family’s relationships.
What you as a therapist will lead them to discover is that feelings are something which can be overcome with willpower. Today’s world tends to tell us that when we lose certain feelings, it’s time for a change.