Integrated Wellness: My Personal Struggles, Successes, and the Relation to Family Therapy

Hi, my name is Jonathan Held, LCSW. Today I wanted to talk about my personal struggles, and successes with wellness and how family and/or couples therapy can fit into overall wellness. 

First allow me to share with you some of the ways I have learned to bring wellness into my own life. I should start by saying that if you're thinking why would I listen to this guy he thinks he has it all together, I can assure you that is not the case. Like most people, I struggle to maintain balance in my life. As a teenager I was probably about 100 pounds overweight. One of my greatest accomplishments was losing this weight; however, through most of my life I was rarely able to motivate myself to exercise. About one year ago (at 32 years of age) I discovered Beachbody and set a goal for myself that I would exercise six days a week for a year. I am happy to say that I achieved this goal and still continue to have daily exercise in my life. (I also - through Beachbody - have been turned onto Shakeology, which is what I am about to enjoy in this picture!). Like most accomplishments that stick, I did not try to do anything extreme, but instead attempted to bring balance by exercising 20 to 30 minutes a day and often modifying so as to not injure myself. You're probably thinking wait a minute, I thought you were going to talk about family therapy - the tie in is this: setting small goals each day can sometimes produce the greatest results! 

Other areas of life in which it is important to set (and maintain) small goals include family life, parenting, and romantic relationships/marriage. Generally speaking, I attempt to maintain a positive outlook on life and work towards maintaining positive relationships with all of those in my circle of influence – especially my immediate family. One of the best ways that I have found to do this is by making sure that each of my children - and my spouse - has a small amount of individualized attention each day, I will also attempt to have significant family time daily and weekly. Sometimes this can just be as simple as sitting down at the dinner table together, or going for a family walk/bike ride. The important goal is to maintain connection through family rituals. 

In my practice, I often focus on relationships and the building of effective communication. I find that this can be a great step to maintaining overall wellness (I'm sure most of us can attest to the fact that we just don't feel well - or make healthy choices - when we are not getting along well with our loved ones). The areas I am most passionate about  in practice are marriage and family. It surprises me how often couples and families state that they do not spend quality time together. I believe that part of the barrier to this is that we get stuck in negative patterns and ultimately avoid communication - which I believe is one of the magic pills to getting un-stuck in families (perhaps I should have said effective communication). 

EFFECTIVE communication is where family therapy comes in. Through family work, I help others to communicate more effectively with each other, and help families to restructure in a way that children can thrive through an appropriate balance of structure and bonding/nurturing. One of the keys to this is helping parents discuss areas where they can more effectively align/work together to parent and to help talk with their children about emotional needs. 

Of course family therapy is not the only focus - even in individual therapy, relationships (and wellness!) often become a part of the focus. Through assessment we will work together to determine areas of emotional stuckness in past/current relationships, work through ways to heal these hurts, and plan for ways to build and continue to maintain healthy relationships in the future. 

One of the most important parts of therapy is YOU. Through counseling we will work together to help you come up with goals that make sense for your life (or your family) and establish a pace that works for you with an appropriate balance of pacing and challenging/meeting achievable goals. If you are ready to begin a journey towards healing and integrated wellness please call us at 724.863.7223 or you can email me directly at jah915@gmail.com.