Individuals, couples, or families seeking clinical support from registered social workers, psychotherapists, or child therapists enter the work with deeply held views about family traditions, cultures, rituals, and beliefs that have been passed down to generations over several centuries. In some countries, people are still able to leave work for part of the day in order to eat a meal with one another before returning back to business. Family values are heartfelt and central to the ways people live their life. They also shape the ways we understand and solve problems. Something as simple as mealtime together remains a priority in most families. There are several studies that demonstrate the correlation between regular shared meals and overall social and emotional wellbeing. People are more likely to maintain healthy communication patterns with one another when eating at home on a regular basis and at predictable times. The roles members play around food preparation, planning, and clean-up are dynamic and usually shared with everyone involved. It takes time for a clinical social worker to help families express values they hold most dear, and where perhaps, there is some disagreement. Often, mediating these differences of opinion or disagreements becomes the clinical work over several sessions. It is often in these practical spaces of the everyday that people run into problems with one another. It is also in this space that solutions emerge, later, in session. What are your plans for dinner today? How many meals did you share with people who matter most in your life? What, if anything needs to change? What are examples of other values families hold dear and may wish your intervention to protect and repair through your clinical practice?
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