Capstone has three areas of professional expertise: multiple addictive behaviors, trauma and attachment issues, and family therapy, which includes marital therapy. Working to resolve all types of family conflict is one of our strengths and a part of our work with every family. Remember, the family may or may not be a part of the problem, but they are always the primary source for solutions. Our work with families is to help them to be closer, deeper, stronger, and healthier.
Nothing puts a family under stress like having a child who is struggling. Working to resolve family conflict is one of the strong suits of Capstone’s expert therapy team as well as one of the primary emphases of our program. When a couple has a child who is chronically ill or a child who dies, the divorce rate jumps to approximately 90%. Financial struggles are considered one of the most prominent reasons for couples to go to marital therapy, as well as one of the main reasons cited for divorce. When a child is struggling with illness, or with the behaviors and attitudes that bring them to the point of needing a residential treatment program like Capstone, it causes financial stress and adds to the overall stress and conflict in the home.
Usually when parents have more than one child, if one is struggling to the point of coming to Capstone, the other one is usually what we call the “Golden Child.” This child is the one who is excelling in their school achievements and/or their social connections and/or their youth group and so on. From a systemic perspective, there is a sort of unconscious effort to balance the “Family Boat” and counterbalance the child who is struggling and causing family stress and conflict. We always tell parents that the Golden Child, or as some say, the Hero Child, is one we worry about just as much as their son at Capstone. The Golden Child role often holds a high rate of depression and even suicide, due to their self-imposed, although noble, pressure to be perfect.
Sometimes the family will have stress and conflict with the parents, either individually or in their marriage. Remember, Capstone mostly draws parents who don’t lack in love, effort and good intention in their family and that all of us go through marital struggles and personal valleys. When we do, we most often try to power our way through it because we don’t want to hurt the people in our family, especially the children. This kind of family conflict often adds a lot of stress on the children even without the reason being openly known by the individual family members.
As with all the areas of struggle that Capstone deals with, family conflict has the power to damage, even destroy, relationships – if it is not worked through. However, if worked through, it has the power to be transformative and grow relationships to a deeper level of connection and intimacy.