If your family is going through a difficult time – whether it may be problems with your marriage or behavioral issues with your child – then you may want to consider family therapy. Also known as family counseling, this form of therapy is designed to help families address specific issues,
resolve conflicts, and maintain healthy relationships.
A family therapist can be a psychologist, social worker, or therapist with specialized training in addressing family issues. They should have a minimum level of experience in treating child and adolescent problems, grief, mood disorders, domestic violence, gender issues, marital conflict,
and substance abuse.
A family therapist places particular emphasis on understanding the individual’s problems in the family unit context. They approach any issue as a symptom of a much larger problem that needs to be addressed. If your child is acting up at a school, a family therapist might try to uncover what may be happening at home that causes him to behave that way.
If parents struggle at work, they can look at how the children have stepped up in terms of their responsibilities at home.
Each family dynamic is different. Although some still subscribe to the nuclear family model, a growing number of families are exploring alternative ways of parenting and raising their children, creating complex systems, patterns, and dynamics.
The methods a family therapist may use will depend on the problem presented by the client. They can adapt their techniques to your family's unique situation. The problem doesn’t necessarily have to be of significant magnitude or severity; a family therapist can help families process everyday setbacks.
Once the family has allowed the therapist into their inner circle, a family therapist can gain insight into how the family operates. Perhaps, it might not be easy to see the root of a problem from the inside looking in.
However, a therapist is in a strong position to spot patterns that may be too entrenched for family members to recognize and recommend steps to work through problems as a collective.
If you’re searching for a good family therapist, look for a professional with clinical and therapeutic experience in resolving the kind of problems your family is facing. To help you make a more informed decision, we compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about family therapy.
Do we need family therapy?
Family therapy can be a useful tool for improving or solving problems in communication and your family dynamics. Although it can’t take away your questions, it can provide family members with new abilities to surpass difficult circumstances in healthier ways.
How do you tell if a therapist is right for you?
A therapist is right for you if they can ensure your safety, are competent, and create a sense of connection. Your therapist should be a person with whom you can be authentic and who won’t judge you. If you feel comfortable opening up to your therapist, it is also a good indication that they’re the right fit.
Can family members go to the same therapist?
Having the same therapist can give you security and safety, knowing that a family member trusts them. Going to a similar therapist as your family enables you to be more comfortable opening up.
What are the disadvantages of family therapy?
Family therapy can cause issues among the family if one member refuses to cooperate. It can also temporarily intensify family issues as unhealthy behaviors and patterns become more visible. However, these disadvantages would not persist for long with the help of a qualified therapist.
What are the techniques used in family therapy?
There are various family therapy techniques, but four main models dominate the spectrum: strategic, systematic, structural, and Bowenian. These techniques are effective ways to address family conflicts.
What happens in family therapy?
This type of therapy allows you to examine your family’s ability to communicate with one another and solve problems. Family therapy is an excellent avenue to learn family roles and behavior patterns to determine issues that contribute to family conflicts.
What is the difference between family therapy and individual therapy?
Individual therapy only focuses on the needs of one person. Meanwhile, family therapy handles an entire family or several of its members. Sometimes a person may be included in both therapies.
How does family systems therapy work?
Family therapy views the family as one emotional system. During family systems therapy, the family members work together to understand one another and how their actions can affect others. The family explores together to develop a solution for their problems.
What does a functional family look like?
There are several characteristics to identify a well-functioning family fully. Some include emotional and moral support, love, concern for the family members, a sense of belongingness, open communication, and making each person feel important, valued, and respected.
What is the importance of family therapy?
Family therapy can help improve your relationships with your partner, children, or other family members. In this therapy, you can also address issues that affect the entire family.
Does family therapy really work?
Family therapy can help the family to face and solve challenging situations that might cause stress and conflict. Through this type of therapy, the family can better understand and learn how to cope with disagreements better.
What are the key concepts of family systems theory?
In family systems theory, they recognize that family functions as an emotional system wherein each family member have a specific role. According to the system’s roles, members are expected to communicate and interact in a particular way.
What are the 6 functions of the family?
The family’s six functions are socialization, behavior rules, interaction patterns, emotional support, economic and reproductive function. These are essential functions that are expected of each family.
What are the 4 basic functions of a family?
The four functions include regulation of sexual activity, socializing, reproduction, and economic and emotional security. These functions are important in preserving society’s social stability.
Our families provide the blueprint for the person we are today. Some of us are extremely lucky to be born into a loving and supportive family, while others may not be as fortunate and have dysfunctional family relationships.
But even the happiest of families still have problems. You might take these dysfunctional characteristics as a permanent feature of your family, but this should not be the case. It might range from a parent’s tendency to dismiss their child’s opinion to a teen who does not know how to communicate with her parents.
Left unaddressed, these small misunderstandings and tensions can snowball into irreparable fractures.
A family therapist takes on several hats – challenger, supporter, interpreter, re-integrator, and educator – to bring the family’s inner workings to the surface. Slowly, they get the family members to a mutual understanding of the problem through various interventions.
By exploring the interactional dynamics in a family and the unspoken set of rules that govern behavior, a family therapist can restructure unhealthy systems and set clear boundaries that work for everyone. They also focus on improving communication skills and building trust to create a more functional home environment.
It’s important to note that a family therapist does not have all the answers, nor do they offer quick fixes. They set out to strengthen the family’s internal resources to resolve future problems without the help of a therapist.
Overall, the goal of family therapy is to improve relationships over the long run. By setting the building blocks, it is hoped that the family is in a better place to respond in healthier ways when a crisis strikes. More importantly, a child that grows up in a healthy and happy family is more likely to apply
those same lessons when he starts a family of his own.
After all, we look to our parents or guardians for guidance in raising our children. That’s why if you want to improve your relationship with your family, it’s worth looking into family therapy.