Often when children are distressed, parents are distressed. Equally, when parents struggle, their children struggle. Through research on attachment and polyvagal science, we better understand how healthy emotional development depends on caregivers actively developing the nervous system of the young and engaging them in learning how to work with emotions. Sometimes in this process, unintended dependencies and blocking beliefs are created that later get in the way of adolescent launching and adulting. Shifting the enmeshed emotional system requires active participation by kids and parents to individuate and reconnect for healthy adult connection or face the risk of ultimately cutting off from each other.
Common launch points for family therapy: defiant adolescent behavior, mood dysregulation of the child (anxiety, depression, suicidality), and disinterest in taking medications, adolescents in chemical dependency recovery.
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