Family Consultation

What is Family Consultation?

Major changes or unexpected situations can test a family’s ability to adapt or cope. Families may need to significantly reorganize roles and routines, or may simply need information about resources to help them adapt. In these circumstances a family can benefit from consulting a professional for information and assistance in problem-solving.

The purpose of family consultation is to empower families to make decisions, negotiate changes, adapt and cope. A consultation can also assist a family to define their vision or goals.

Family consultation differs from family therapy primarily in that it assumes the family is generally healthy and well-functioning, but in need of information, support or new ideas for a specific short-term concern or a change in their family.

Who Can Benefit from Family Consultation?

Families with a member who is hospitalized or critically ill
Families caring for a member who has a serious or chronic illness
Families preparing for a significant change, such as remarriage

What Happens in a Family Consultation?

Family consultation may require only one session, or up to three sessions.
All family members who are affected by the change or stressor are asked to participate in the consultation. The family will be asked to complete a short questionnaire prior to the meeting, and return it via email.

The consultation will be scheduled for 2 hours. In the consultation the family’s primary concern and goal will be identified, and each family member will be asked to give their perspective. Supports and obstacles to achieving the goal will be examined, and the family and consultant will collaboratively develop a plan of action. Should further sessions or referral be desired, this will be negotiated at the end of the session.

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