What is Family Life Cycle?

The family life cycle has been described as a process of contraction, expansion, and realignment of the relationship system to support the development, entry and exit of family members. The stages include leaving home as a young single adult; marriage and the joining of families; families with young children; families with adolescents; launching children and moving on; and families in later life (Nichols, & Davis, 2017). As a counselor, I think the phase that would most likely constitute a potential struggle for me would be the launching children and moving on phase. I have five daughters that I absolutely adore, and I have loved raising them and cherished the time I have been able to spend with them. Three years ago my oldest daughter graduated from high school and moved to pursue her degree out of state. Two years later, my second daughter followed in her footsteps. The excitement I felt for them and the wonderful things they would experience was definitely present, but the grief I felt over no longer having them in my home everyday was overwhelming. I was shocked at how devastated I felt. I cognitively recognized that they were doing all of the things I dreamed they would be able to do, but my heart just hurt. I know counseling a family experiencing this phase may be difficult for me because my own experiences and emotions are still so recent, however, I also know that there are tools to assist in overcoming these obstacles. According to Whitbourne, avoiding a circumstance that I know may trigger unwanted emotions, modifying the situation, shifting my attentional focus, changing my own thoughts, and altering my responses are all techniques that may be helpful (Whitbourne, 2015).

Nichols, M. P. & Davis, S. D. (2017). Family therapy: Concepts and methods (11th ed.). Pearson Education, Inc.

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Whitbourne, S. (2015). 5 ways to get unwanted emotions under control. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201502/5-ways-get-your-unwanted-emotions-under-control%3famp

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