Family therapy has a different perspective on treatment than an individual therapy. While the individual therapist works with one client on solving or curing a problem, the family therapist views problems in the context of the “system” of the family. To solve a problem in a system, you need to consider all parts of the system.
Fixing the alternator in a car will not fix the problem if it also has flat tires, a faulty transmission, and a plugged exhaust pipe.
Issues within a family are similar to the car with several problems. A parent struggling with alcoholism is not a problem in isolation; the parent’s struggle has likely affected their spouse and their children as well. A family therapist believes that problems must be addressed at the level of the whole family rather than on an individual level.
Whatever the source, distressing family dynamics can greatly interfere with the functioning of every family member. When family members do not get along, the tension can impact each family member’s mental and physical health, relationships, and even one’s capacity for routine tasks.
Family therapy is designed to help families collaborate to address family problems. The course of treatment is often brief and seeks to address the communication styles of the family, as well as any individual issues that may be interfering with the cohesiveness of the family system. Family problems do not have to be severe to warrant therapy. Families can expect to learn to understand one another better, communicate more effectively, and work proactively to disrupt unhealthy patterns.
I may see the family as a group in some sessions and have some sessions with one or two family members at a time. Sometimes, family problems can be addressed by just working with the parents.
What are the Benefits of Family Therapy?
The benefits of family therapy include:
- Better understanding of healthy boundaries and family patterns and dynamics
- Enhanced communication
- Improved problem solving
- Deeper empathy
- Reduced conflict and better anger management skills
More specifically, family therapy can improve the family relationships through:
- Bringing the family together after a crisis
- Creating honesty between family members
- Instilling trust in family members
- Developing a supportive family environment
- Reducing sources of tension and stress within the family
- Helping family members forgive each other
- Conflict resolution for family members
What can you do to promote world peace?
Go home and love your family.
Our family therapy experience with Kerry has helped us to better communicate with our daughter and help her voice and feelings be heard. Kerry helped us to come up with solutions as a family rather than tell us what we were doing wrong. The communication and listening skills that we learned have made a big difference in the way that we interact as a family.The Ingrams