What is Family Therapy? Can It Be Useful For My Family?

You’ve probably heard of individual therapy, where you can speak to a professional about personal matters such as anxiety and depression. You may also be familiar with marriage therapy for couples hoping to repair or strengthen their relationship. But what is family therapy?

The Basics

  • Family therapy is conducted by a licensed psychologist, therapist, or social worker with the goal of improving familial interactions. 
  • Family is defined as any person you consider to be connected to in a permanent, supportive kinship (even without biological ties). 
  • This form of therapy is designed to analyze and modify patterns of behaviors. 
  • Although all family members are welcomed and encouraged to participate, therapy can still be effective with only a portion of the group present. 

How Can it Help?

Family therapy can cover a multitude of topics. Here are a few examples:

  • Coping with the effects of a family member’s illness or addiction
  • Life after divorce: co-parenting and blended families
  • Adjusting to a major change/transition: moving, loss, new sibling
  • Trauma, abuse, crisis
  • Behavior issues

Therapists work with families to encourage them to express their feelings, communicate more effectively, develop listening skills, and foster empathy. Counseling provides a safe space to uncover the root of troublesome issues. Once you’ve identified the problem, you can work with your therapist to find possible solutions that will help your family peacefully move forward.

What Kinds of Techniques are Available?

  • Bowenian: “[Bowenian Therapy] focuses on the balance of two forces. The first is togetherness and the second is individuality. Too much togetherness creates fusion and prevents individuality, or developing one’s own sense of self.”
  • Systemic: “[Systemic Therapy] looks to help members of a family understand each other better, change negative behaviors and resolve conflicts.”
  • Strategic: Strategic therapists are problem-solvers and solution-finders. They aren’t concerned with where or how the problem started, only how to address it and solve it at this point in time.” 
  • Structural: Therapists work to uncover any habitual patterns, routines, or behaviors that negatively impact family dynamics, and seek to establish healthier routines within family structures in order to create a dynamic, loving, stable home life for everyone.”

(Find these informative quotes and more by clicking on the name of each technique)

Family therapy can be a life preserver in the midst of struggle. Therapy is designed to be discreet, practical and life changing. If your family could benefit from unbiased mediation, conflict resolution or comforting support, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. 

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