In movies, books, anecdotes of people who have gone to psychological therapy… in the vast majority of stories about what a psychotherapy session is like, parents are mentioned and treated as part of the story.
Everybody knows the topic of the psychoanalyst and the couch asking and interpreting the role of the mother and the father in the life of the patient . This is not the usual way of working today, but it is true that this aspect is discussed and deepened at some point in the therapy.
In this article we will see the reasons why it is usual to dedicate a part of the therapy to talk about the primary caregivers of every human being, both the father and the mother.
Why do psychologists ask about parents?
Parents are our first contact with affection . We learn it from them, and it will be a determining factor in the quality of our future relationships both within the family and outside, in our adult life.
Higher self-esteem, better academic performance, better communication within the family, and fewer behavioral problems have been linked in various studies to loving and secure affection. On the other hand, children who have less loving or more fearful parents tend to have lower self-esteem and feel more alienated, hostile, aggressive or antisocial.
As parents, achieving a balance in the affection shown and the situations in which it is best to maintain a position of authority is an aspect to which it is vital to pay attention.
Rules and limits
What we consider right and wrong, what should be done and what should not be done, are also details that we learn for the first time from our parents. In childhood we usually have limits, rules and consequences that can influence us throughout our lives .
Do you reflect with your children on the limits or do you impose them without justifying them? Children need limits, care and attention, adolescents need freedom and guidance, and young adults need peace and privacy. Adults who were listened to, spoken to correctly and treated patiently in their childhood tend to have better mental and emotional health.
Only parents can be referrals?
Although parents are the adult reference figures for most people, this is not always the case. Teachers, coaches, siblings, social workers or psychologists can exercise this role of reference figures, especially for people whose parents have not been able or have not known how to care for them. A blood relationship is not a requirement for this type of role.
Furthermore, in a hyperconnected world, many new reference figures and role models may appear, among them the so-called “influencers” who can condition both people and their way of living together on a daily basis.
In psychotherapy, it is important to find out what these reference figures have been in the person’s life to be able to go deeper into both the problems of the present and the healthy learning that can help improve the problematic situation.
To what extent are we influenced by parental figures?
As a rule, and especially in societies around the Mediterranean Sea, we want to stay close to our parents in some way when we are in our adult years. Their opinion and how they make us feel can concern us throughout our lives .
Therefore, it is again important to find a balance in which we make sure we build a relationship with them in which this influence is positive. Knowing the extent to which reference figures influence a person’s adult life becomes crucial for therapy to progress and for a collaborative relationship to be formed between therapist and patient.
Do family patterns tend to repeat themselves when you’re an adult?
Observe yourself, meditate on what you are like or different from your parents, find out what you would like to change and what you would like to repeat and maintain with pleasure… If we do not ask ourselves these questions consciously, we will most likely repeat what we have learned without this being healthy or positive .