What is Family Therapy?
There’s an old argument about whether a person’s actions, behaviors, and personality are derived from their biology and genes or the environment in which they grew up in: nature versus nurture. In the context of family therapy, we’re more concerned with the nurture part—the parents and siblings, friends and extended family, all of whom impact our lives in one way or another.
The Sum of the Parts
Family therapy is traditionally defined as a form of psychotherapy that addresses the behaviors of all family members and the way these behaviors affect not only individual family members, but also relationships between family members and the family unit as a whole.
It’s important to note that “family” doesn’t mean blood relation only in counseling. Therapists view a family member as anyone who “plays a long-term supportive role in one’s life.” Unlike traditional therapy, family therapy looks at the whole and how all the parts work together.
What Does it Cover?
The umbrella of family therapy covers a range of topics/issues that families may be confronting. Some common reasons for seeking family therapy include:
- Conflict between Family Members
- Child’s Behavior
The kind of family therapy that is offered depends on that particular therapist’s credentials, expertise, and experience. For example, at Family First Therapy, families can seek help with parenting disagreements, dealing with a new diagnosis, or learning how to talk to kids about tricky topics, such as divorce—among others.
The Power of Communication
Being able to communicate is the foundation for a healthy relationship. Communication lies at the heart of almost all of the major reasons families seek therapy. What makes communicating difficult is doing it effectively to everyone. This includes communication with even the youngest of the bunch, all while navigating complex relationships and challenging life events. Having a neutral-yet-knowledgeable third party to help guide those conversations and gently untangle the problems goes a long way.
When a family comes together in a counseling session, the benefits reach everyone. Specific goals and outcomes will vary depending on the family’s reason for seeking therapy. For example, if a family member has struggled with substance abuse, family counseling could help reunite the family, strengthen the relationships between any estranged members, and/or aid the forgiveness and acceptance process for others. Some more general benefits of family therapy include:
- A greater understanding (and perhaps appreciation) of each other and the roles and relationships of your family
- Healthy, effective communication
- A reduction in conflict (and the problem-solving skills to handle those situations as they arise)
Just as every family member brings something to the table, so too does the therapist that the family chooses to work with. I am ready, willing, and more than capable of helping your family, whatever the need may be.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I’d love to help you