In our work at Porch Light Counseling, we work with all sorts of families. Blended families, non-traditional families, estranged families; we see them all. In many of the families we work with, there's a dad who hasn't had access to the same support as the mom (or whatever name is used for the person who did the birthing). In some families, “dad” may not be a cisgender male but is someone in a parenting role that's supportive of their partner or child. We think it's important to mention that though this post will be talking a lot about dads, our practice strives to be LGB and trans-inclusive and anyone who identifies as a dad (or in the role traditionally filled by fathers) is welcome to see themselves here.

Support for fathers and other kinds of partners is key for the health of the family system. We know that much of the focus in the family-building process is on the mother-child relationship (obviously extremely important), and this can isolate dads. Dads in our society are often painted as incompetent, dispensable, and in the way. (How many of you have had someone ask if your child's father is a good "babysitter"?) With focus comes allocation of resources, creating conversations where father-figures can be left out of the family equation, frustrated, and confused about where to turn for support.

We want to shift some of these resources toward fathers with the understanding that support for dads can create more emotional and physical presence in the family, and safety and security in all relationships. What would it look like for a family to receive support all around? How will it impact mothers if their partners are receiving support and connection from another dad? Can we positively affect infant and young child mental health by improving attachment between fathers and their children? Just as we deeply believe in the power of support for improving outcomes for mothers and their babies, we believe fathers can benefit from a similar approach.

We are thrilled to welcome Andrew Bednarzik to the Porch Light Counseling family. Andrew is a father himself and recognizes the importance of supporting dads. He approaches his work with the understanding that fathers are often held to standards of toxic masculinity, creating isolation and loneliness for dads who would much rather have connection than fear. Andrew’s approach is grounded in the belief that fathers can feel comfortable and confident in their role as a dad with the right support and resources.

If you are a father and have been feeling isolated, unclear about your role as a parent, or struggling with the transition to fatherhood, Andrew could be a great fit for you. You can reach him here for more information about his work and approach, and to schedule a time to meet with him.