Couples + Families Therapy

Couples and family therapy provides a safe space to share your thoughts and feelings, fostering stronger relationships. Whether you have been with your partner for a few months or many years, it's common for couples to face challenges related to trust, communication, physical health, or everyday stress that can manifest in various ways, such as frequent arguments or a sense of disconnection. When families experience disagreements, they may need guidance to resolve them. If you can identify with any of these issues, we can help provide you with the tools to strengthen your relationships.

Family Counseling in Athens, GA

Couples and family therapy provides a platform for open and honest communication, helping couples and family members understand and express their thoughts and feelings effectively. At the Banyan Tree, our marriage and family therapists are dedicated to providing advice and support for couples and families in need of counseling. Through counseling, you can expect improved communication skills, which will allow for better understanding and connection in your relationships. Our experienced therapists will guide you through effective techniques to manage conflicts in a healthy and productive manner. With these skills, your family will be equipped to resolve issues more constructively, fostering a harmonious environment. To extend our couples and family counseling services beyond the therapy room, we provide our clients with practical tools and techniques to implement in everyday life.

Family Counseling Athens, GA

Couples and Family Therapy

Blended Families

Blended Families

As divorce impacts more marriages than not, blended families are becoming increasingly common, and with this, new family challenges are arising.

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Couples Counseling

Couples Counseling

Relationship issues are one of the primary reasons that people initially reach out for counseling and relationship coaching. It is normal, if not inevitable, for couples to experience challenges or hardships in their relationships.

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Divorce Recovery

Divorce Recovery

More often than not, divorce is an emotionally traumatic event for not only the individuals who were married but also for the children, friends, and family members of the couple. Seeking counseling treatment is often a normal and very beneficial step in the process.

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Family Counseling

Family Counseling

Our relationship with our family is often one of the most important in our lives. Family members are our first relationships, and these interactions in our formative years shape how we interact with the world.

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Pre-Marital Counseling

Pre-Marital Counseling

Choosing engagement and marriage is an important and exciting step in a couple’s relationship, and our licensed marriage counselors are here to support you in the process.

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Why choose the Banyan Tree?

Choose Banyan Tree Center for a holistic approach to wellness in Athens, GA. Our team of therapists offers premier counseling and psychotherapy, fostering personal growth, relationship enrichment, and the development of new skills. In our safe space, explore and overcome barriers to a fulfilling life​.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are your typical clients?

Our typical clients are between the ages of 13 and 65+. They come to improve their lives in many different areas, including personal, school, career, and family. They may have relationship problems, addictions, parenting challenges, difficulties managing stress, depression. or anxiety. They may be learning to cope better with life's difficulties, such as illness, finding meaning in life, transitions, and decision-making. Maybe you've heard of people going to counseling and because of a stigma or belief that it was for people with "real problems," you hesitated to contact a therapist. Counseling teaches truly effective ways to deal with common, everyday irritations as well as more entrenched patterns of living. At the Banyan Tree, we can help you with whatever concern prompted you to look into our services. If we don't work with your particular concern, we will help you find someone who does. So whatever you're facing, please contact us. You will be taking a big first step to living the life you want to live!

Does family counseling really work?

Yes, family counseling can be extremely effective. At the Banyan Tree, we have seen many families make significant strides in improving their relationships and overall dynamics. By providing a safe, structured environment for open dialogue, our therapists help families develop healthier communication patterns, resolve conflicts, and foster mutual understanding. It's important to remember that progress varies depending on individual circumstances and the commitment of all involved family members to attend family therapy. But in our experience, families who fully engage in the counseling process often experience positive, long-lasting change.

What are my rights and responsibilities?

Our purpose is to help you resolve problem areas in your life. Although no one can solve your problems for you, we are trained to help people cope more effectively with their difficulties. We will do our best to understand you as a unique individual and help you work through your difficulties. We will listen, understand, and help you to the fullest extent of our professional training and experience. It is your responsibility to help us understand your life situation, thoughts, and feelings and to have the courage to try to master your problem areas. As a patient, you have the following rights:

  • To ask for and receive information about our qualifications, including licensure, education, training, experience, membership in professional organizations, specific areas of practice, and limits on practice
  • To have written information before therapy about fees, method of payment, insurance coverage, number of sessions that may be needed, on-call therapists used in case of vacations and emergencies, and cancellation policies
  • To refuse to answer any question or give any information you choose not to answer or give
  • To know if your case will be discussed with others (for instance, supervisors or consultants) and what information will be shared
  • To ask about your progress
  • To have any therapy procedure, including pros and cons of its use, explained to you before it is used
  • To end treatment at any time (However, please schedule at least one session with your therapist before terminating treatment.)
What does family counseling include?

Family counseling typically includes various therapeutic techniques and interventions tailored to meet the unique needs of each family. These may include:

1. Individual family counseling sessions: Individual sessions allow each family member to express their thoughts, emotions, and concerns in a safe and confidential environment.

2. Group sessions: In group sessions, all family members come together to discuss their issues and work toward finding solutions as a unit.

3. Communication skills training and education: Effective communication is vital for healthy relationships within a family. Family counseling may focus on improving communication patterns, teaching active listening skills, and helping family members express their needs and feelings in a constructive manner.

4. Conflict resolution: Family counseling helps families develop strategies for resolving conflicts and managing disagreements in a respectful and peaceful way.

5. Parenting skills: Family therapy may involve providing guidance and support to parents in developing effective parenting techniques and strategies.

6. Problem-solving: Family counseling equips families with problem-solving skills that can be applied to various situations, enabling them to navigate difficulties more effectively.

7. Emotional support: A key aspect of family counseling is providing emotional support to each family member, fostering a sense of validation, understanding, and empathy. The family therapist also creates a safe space where family members can openly express their emotions and receive support from one another.

8. Building resilience: Family counseling aims to build resilience within the family unit by identifying and strengthening coping mechanisms and promoting adaptability in the face of challenges.

9. Healing past wounds: Family therapy may address unresolved issues from the past that continue to impact the present dynamics of the family. By exploring these wounds and working toward healing, families can move forward with greater harmony.

10. Strengthening family relationships: Ultimately, family counseling seeks to strengthen relationships within the family by fostering a sense of unity, trust, and mutual understanding. Through open communication and active participation in the therapeutic process, family members can develop a deeper appreciation for one another and build stronger connections.

At the Banyan Tree, our family counseling services are tailored to address each family's unique needs and challenges. Our therapists foster a safe, supportive space where families can collaboratively work toward positive change. In family therapy, our primary focus is on conflict resolution, equipping families with effective communication skills to navigate disagreements constructively. We also emphasize emotional support, aiming for each family member to feel heard, validated, and understood to encourage a supportive, empathetic environment.

What happens if I miss an appointment or need to cancel?

Mental health professionals differ in many respects from other healthcare providers. Unlike most physicians, dentists, and other professionals who work on flexible and inexact schedules, we commit a specific time period to each client. Therefore, it is important for you to appreciate the fact that a block of time has been set aside for you only. Our schedules can be crowded. Canceling or rescheduling an appointment without sufficient notice often means the loss of an hour of therapy to someone else that needed the appointment time. Therefore, we ask that you give at least 48 hours notice if you cannot be at the appointment for which you have contracted. If no notice of your cancellation is received, or if less than 24 hours notice is given, YOU WILL BE CHARGED A FEE FOR THE MISSED APPOINTMENT. Of course, rescheduling an appointment can be done at any time if there is an emergency or unexpected illness. Cancellation messages can be left on the voicemail. To prevent any confusion about your appointment time, always keep your appointment card. If a mistake is made, your appointment card is your means of verification.

How Does Confidentiality for Minors in Therapy Work?

Clients under 18 who are not emancipated and their parents should be aware that state laws impose legal obligations and responsibilities on therapists regarding confidentiality. Health care providers face challenges in maintaining confidentiality while ensuring effective treatment, especially when making decisions regarding confidentiality and treatment despite the absence of clear policies. Informed consent is crucial in the context of minors’ treatment, emphasizing the need for clear communication and understanding.

Because privacy in counseling is often crucial to successful progress, particularly with teenagers, it is our policy to request an agreement from parents or legal guardians that they consent to give up their access to their child’s records. Specific considerations for mental health treatment include assessing the minor’s maturity and understanding. During treatment, we will provide parents only with general information about the progress of the minor clients’ treatment and their attendance at scheduled sessions. Establishing a strong therapeutic relationship based on trust and open communication is essential.

Any other communication will require the child’s authorization unless we feel that sharing relevant information is necessary because the child is in danger or is a danger to someone else. The legal and ethical implications of a breach of confidentiality must be carefully considered, including when therapists may need to breach confidentiality to notify parents or guardians in emergency situations. In contentious custody cases, there may be limitations on parents’ access to their child’s treatment information. Understanding the legal framework surrounding a child’s treatment is crucial in these situations. Privacy rights and legal protections related to a child's treatment include the role of parents as personal representatives and the restrictions on access to treatment notes. Criteria for minors to consent to their own medical treatment include their maturity and decision-making capability.

The specific legal requirements for offering mental health treatment via minor’s consent must be followed. Factors determining a minor client’s ability to consent include their cognitive and emotional development. Protecting the confidentiality of minor patients is paramount. Steps for minors to consent to their own treatment involve understanding the legal framework and necessary procedures.

Legal and ethical considerations around parental consent are complex and must be navigated carefully. Procedures for minors seeking therapy independently include understanding the relevant laws and guidelines. Minors who seek therapy without parental consent must meet specific criteria and follow established protocols. Involving parents or guardians in the therapeutic process can enhance therapy outcomes through collaboration and trust.

Mental Health Treatment

Therapists have a professional and ethical obligation to maintain the privacy of all their clients, including children. This means information disclosed in sessions is generally kept confidential, fostering an environment where children feel comfortable expressing themselves openly and honestly. However, it is also crucial to consider a minor client's ability to consent to treatment and the challenges health care providers face in assessing this ability, especially in complex situations such as a minor requesting an abortion or refusing certain treatments due to religious beliefs.

Therapeutic Relationship

A strong therapeutic relationship is vital for progress in child therapy. When children trust their therapist to keep their conversations confidential (with some exceptions), they're more likely to be open and vulnerable. This openness allows the therapist to understand the child's needs and develop effective treatment plans.

Medical Treatment

Confidentiality in child therapy can sometimes overlap with medical treatment considerations. However, it's important to note that therapy is not typically considered medical treatment. This means therapists aren't bound by HIPAA regulations, which govern the privacy of medical information.

Minor Clients

While children don't have the same legal right to confidentiality as adults, we at Banyan Tree Center strive to create a space where they feel safe to share their experiences. We achieve this through a balanced approach:

  • Limited Parental Involvement: We encourage parents to be involved in their child's treatment, but we also respect the child's right to privacy. We'll provide general updates on progress and collaborate with parents on treatment goals. However, for specific details of sessions, we'll seek the child's assent before sharing with anyone, including parents.
  • Mandated Reporting Exceptions: There are legal exceptions to confidentiality, such as suspected child abuse, self-harm, or danger to others. In these cases, we are obligated by law to report the information to the appropriate authorities. However, we'll always strive to involve the child in the process as much as possible and explain the situation clearly.

By understanding these nuances of confidentiality, we can create a safe and effective therapy environment for children at Banyan Tree Center. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us!

Why is confidentiality important for minors in therapy?

Confidentiality for minors in therapy is crucial for building trust and ensuring open communication. It helps minors feel safe to share their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment, ultimately leading to more effective therapy outcomes and protection of their privacy rights.

How do I contact my counselor?

Due to the nature of their work and the complexity of their schedules, our counselors are often not immediately available by telephone. The Banyan Tree phone number (706-850-7041) is answered Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. by our office manager and intake coordinators. During other times, it is answered by a confidential answering machine, and calls will be returned by our office manager during the times listed above. The answering machine is also monitored once or twice daily during weekends and holidays. Please speak clearly and give numbers slowly, since we may not have any way to look up your number. If you have an urgent need, please make this very clear in your message. However, since we do not carry pagers, there may be a delay in our receiving your call request. If you are unable to reach us and feel that you can't wait for a return call, please contact your family physician or the nearest emergency room or mental health crisis center. If your counselor will be unavailable for an extended time, we will provide you, via our outgoing message, with the name of a colleague to contact, if necessary.

Do I need to do homework after each session?

It varies depending on the approach and style of your mental health professional at the Banyan Tree. Some may provide "homework" or activities to do between sessions as part of your therapeutic journey. These can be invaluable tools to help reinforce what you learn during therapy. However, it's important to discuss any concerns or preferences with your therapist to ensure your therapy is tailored to your comfort and needs. The goal is to make your therapy beneficial and manageable for you.

What is family conflict counseling?

Conflict is natural in any relationship, and our therapists guide families in honing their communication skills for healthier conflict resolution. We recognize the importance of each family member feeling understood and heard, fostering an environment of mutual support for emotional well-being. Our counseling services are personalized to align with your family's specific needs and encourage active participation in the healing process.

To enhance family dynamics, we utilize evidence-based techniques, including cognitive behavioral therapy, solution-focused talk therapy, and narrative therapy. Our aim is not only resolving current conflicts but also equipping families with skills to prevent future escalations. At the Banyan Tree, we place importance on a healthy balance between individual needs and collective family well-being. By nurturing each member's emotional health and well-being, we help foster a harmonious family environment.

What is family counseling, and how does it work?

Family counseling, also known as couples and family therapy, is a form of therapy that focuses on improving communication and resolving conflicts within a family unit. It involves sessions with a trained therapist who helps family members identify and address issues affecting their relationships.

Are my sessions confidential?

Counseling is a confidential process. We adhere to strict professional standards of ethics and confidentiality. We are required by practice guidelines and standards of care to keep records of your counseling sessions. However, information can only be released with your permission and written consent unless mandated by law. You should be aware; however, that there are a few exceptions regarding confidentiality. For example, therapists are required to take appropriate action when a client is judged to be in imminent danger of harming oneself or threatens grave bodily harm to another person, and this action supersedes confidentiality. We must also report all incidents of child or elder abuse, whether it has already occurred or is likely to occur. Finally, under certain circumstances, confidentiality may be superseded by a court order. If you have any questions regarding confidentiality, bring them to the attention of your therapist.

Still have questions?

We are here to help and would love to hear from you.

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