Family therapy is designed to help families or individuals within a family understand and improve the way family members interact with each other and resolve conflicts. While we work with individuals to help change certain behaviors, we also work with the entire family to improve communication skills and build on the positive aspects of interpersonal relationships, and repair the harmful or negative aspects. Change becomes reality as improved communication, mutual support and positive coping patterns are cultivated…
In general, anyone who wants to improve troubled relationships can benefit from family therapy. Family therapy can help with such issues as: marital problems, divorce, substance abuse, parenting skills, emotional abuse and/or financial problems.
Family therapy often brings entire families together in therapy sessions. However, family members may also see a family therapist individually. Family therapy can even include non-family members, such as teachers, other health care providers or representatives of social services agencies.
Family therapy is not a substitute for other necessary treatments. For instance, family therapy can help family members cope if a relative has a serious problem such as substance abuse problem, major depression, or schizophrenia. But the person with the serious problem should continue with his or her individualized treatment plan, such as talk therapy, medication and possibly hospitalization.
Working with a family therapist, you and your family will examine your family’s ability to solve problems and express thoughts and emotions. You may explore family roles, rules and behavior patterns in order to spot issues that contribute to conflict.
Family therapy may help you identify your family’s strengths, such as caring for one another, and weaknesses, such as an inability to confide in one other.
For example, say that your adult son has depression. Your family may not understand the roots of his depression or how best to offer help. Although you’re worried about your son’s health, you have such deep-seated family conflicts that conversations ultimately erupt into arguments. You’re left with hurt feelings, decisions go unmade, and the rift grows wider.
Family therapy can help you pinpoint your specific concerns and assess how your family is handling them. Guided by your therapist, you’ll learn new ways to interact and overcome old problems. You’ll set individual and family goals and work on ways to achieve them. In the end, your son may be better equipped to cope with his depression, you’ll understand his needs better, and you, your partner and your son may all get along better.