Families are complex system made of different independent parts. The aim of each part of the system is to co-exist in harmony amongst each other, taking on the benefits of being one whole system over a lonely self. The beauty of this all however, presents a lot of challenges. Human beings are not blocks of some highly polished marble. They do not stand near each other without influencing each other and without anything sticking to them whatever the weather throws at them. Human beings react and respond to each other, to the point where each and everyone are moulded and mould others around them. For this reason people in a family are constantly in a dance whereby each and every step of every individual is influenced by those on his same dance floor in the same moment in time whilst s/he is influencing theirs. But how long will it take and how many poundings on his foot can a dancer take before he walks off the dance floor, grabs the music player, throws it out the window, and walks away? Hard to say. Sure is some endure more than others, and some endure to the extent you end up admiring their tolerance of pain, or worse off feel sorry for them for sticking in to it so long. But is it ever too late, to start dancing in harmony again, or in worse off cases, start dancing in harmony for the first time ever in a family or couple’s life. I believe it is never too late but lots of work needs to be done to first relax the tension created, give time to heal the feet, start listening to the music, and then start with baby steps again to dance.

– Mike Orland is a family therapist practicing the systemic approach. He offers therapy to individuals, families and couples, and runs the family therapy services within Willingness. He can be contacted on mike@willingness.com.mt.