Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) changes the life of every member of the family. Concern about how the family will find acceptance, learn to cope, and move forward often leads parents to seek family counseling. This type of therapy can help ensure that families work together to stay strong and connected despite their challenges.
Family counseling can serve to create a supportive environment for families to address their difficulties, reconnect, and restore hope. It is designed to aid the family in solving problems, managing resources, and transitioning to a more informed, accepting, and supportive family unit.
Every therapist has a personal approach. Yet, generally speaking, the initial session is usually intended as “get to know you” time. Typically, the 1-hour session is an opportunity for the therapist to talk to your family about the emotions, attitudes, and feelings you’re currently experiencing. At the same time, the therapist may start to assess your loved one’s developmental skills and abilities to determine how he or she is best able to interact with the family. The session will likely end with a preliminary plan in place for how often the family and counselor should meet, and next steps the family should take.
During therapy sessions, you’ll work with your counselor to identify your family’s strengths and pinpoint the challenges. You may be encouraged to explore family roles and behavior patterns that may be contributing to the issues you’re dealing with as a family or individual family member. The structure of therapy sessions generally varies based on the dynamic of the family and the approach the counselor feels is most beneficial.
Family therapy aims to help families gain the understanding and skills needed to cope. Depending on your family's particular situation, how often you meet, and the number of sessions you may need, will be based on your therapist's recommendation.
Whether or not you choose counseling for your family, remember that the emotions, attitudes, and feelings that you and your family members have are all important to discuss. Seeking the support of professionals and other parents who have "been there" can be a sign of strength and a positive step toward strengthening the family dynamic.
If you are interested in family counseling, ask your primary care provider or neurologist for a referral or recommendation, or ask your health insurance company for a list of providers in your network.