When a family is in crisis, any or all the members often seek family counseling. Dad thinks he can just ignore the problem and it will go away. Mom thinks she can fix it all by herself because she is the strength in the family. The children are usually most affected, but they are not sure why. It's entirely possible that one or more of the children are the reason for the family crisis.
Family counseling participants often present as mom arriving at the therapist's office saying, "I want you to see my 12 year old daughter because she has a problem." The family counselor takes a history and generally responds, "You are going through a crisis as a family, therefore, I need to see every member of the family. I will see you and your husband separately and together, then I will see your 12 year old and as we find out what out the problems are from her perspective. Then we will deal with the problem as a family, together and separately."
A good counselor will recognize that the family problem might be temporary and easily talked through in a short time. It also may deal with a long term problem such as dealing with a disability of a child or one of the parents. A treatment plan for the family can be devised and then altered as the family needs dictate. If the family is in crisis, the therapist will see them perhaps as much as twice a week. As the crisis abates, the sessions may be only once a week until everyone is comfortable.
A good family counselor will be able to deal with every member of the family, refer if necessary. For example, if drugs or alcohol are involved, perhaps a referral to an inpatient or outpatient drug or alcohol rehabilitation program. The other treatment programs will also have a family treatment component and it then becomes part of the total treatment team for the family.
Family counseling must involve all members of the family in distress. The family is equally involved in the treatment plan, defining short and long term goals. Often family counseling can bring a family back together will all of them working to resolve the family crisis.