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Friday, April 19, 2013

Trying to Understand Your Father

Historically, psychological theories have placed a lot of emphasis on the relationship between the mother and the child.  This is understandable due to the important role that the mother has from the time the child is in utero, through the formative years of emotional development, and throughout the course of life.  But, in my opinion, until recently,  there has been relatively little attention paid to the role of the father.  

Trying to Understand Your Father


Despite the relative lack of attention to fathers in psychological theory, psychotherapy clients have been coming to therapy to try to understand their fathers for as long as people have been coming to therapy.  So, in my opinion, this is an important topic for many people, and I will be discussing this issue over the course of several blog articles.

Trying to Understand Your Father
Over the years, many clients that I've seen in my psychotherapy private practice in NYC come to therapy because they have unresolved emotional issues about their father.

In many cases, as adults, these clients are trying to develop a better understanding of their father.  In some cases, their father is still alive and they're trying to develop a better relationship with their father.  In other instances, their father is deceased and they're trying to understand who their father was to them and who he was out in the world with others.

Trying to Understand Your Father

In other cases, clients never knew their father at all because he wasn't around when they were growing up.  In some instances, the father was physically present but he was emotionally remote.

Other clients were raised by a single mother and the father was in and out of their lives.  Or, in some cases, the man they thought was their father was not their father, and these clients are shocked to discover this later in life.  Often, these clients don't find out about this family secret until their fathers are deceased and they regret that they have lost the opportunity to have a relationship with the father while he was alive.

As Men Become Fathers, They Often Face Unresolved Emotional Issues About Their Father
For many men, who are now fathers themselves or who are about to become fathers, emotional issues about their own fathers come up.   Some of these issues might not have seemed important before.  But now that they are at the stage of their lives when they are fathers, unresolved emotional issues about their own father are now important.

Unresolved Emotional Issues With a Father

For instance, if they grew up with a father, they might have feelings about who their father was to them and whether they want to be like their father with their own children.  Or, if they never grew up with a father, they might be particularly aware of wanting to spend time with their children because they know what it's like to miss having a father.

When we consider all the possibilities that are involved with father-child relationships, we begin to see the complexity of this topic.  There are so many different types of father-child relationships, including heterosexual and gay fathers and children.

Getting Help in Therapy
Many people want to understand and improve their relationship with one or both parents, but they feel stuck and don't know how to overcome this problem.

If you need to help to work through your problems with one or both of your parents, you could benefit from seeing a licensed mental health professional who has expertise in this area.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individual adults and couples.

I've helped many men and women to work through emotional issues about their father.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or send me an email: josephineolivia@aol.com

Also see articles: 
 Fathers and Sons: Improving Your Relationship With Your Dad
Looking Back on Your Relationship With Your Dad Now That You're a Dad
Fathers and Daughters: Daddy's "Little Girl" Is All Grown Up Now

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