Families are dynamic, ever-changing, complex structures that need nurturing in order to work well together. Sometimes, when a family gets out of sync, they need guidance to get back on track. That’s where family therapy comes in – to restore that sense of connection and strengthen that bond.
Today we will take a look at what family therapy involves and how it can help, no matter the size or nature of your family unit.
Family Therapy: Defined
Family therapy is a type of group psychotherapy that aims to improve interfamilial relationships and behaviors. These groups can be comprised of several different combinations of loved ones, such as parents or guardians and their kids, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts, and friends.
Family therapy can address many different situations, helping family units to:
- Adjust to a new life change (such as divorce or a move) or even a medical condition.
- Challenges that come with aging.
- Grief and death.
- Relationship conflicts (sibling conflict, parent-child conflict, etc.).
In addition, licensed mental health professionals can use family therapy to focus on one member of the family, to treat mental health or behavioral conditions for that person within the family. For example, family therapy can bring the whole unit together to help treat one member struggling with anything from anorexia to alcohol abuse to severe depression and suicidal thoughts.
Sometimes the issue doesn’t have to be as serious. Sometimes, a teen in the family is struggling with following family rules and is acting out.
In any case, family therapy is conducted by a trained and licensed mental health professional, such as a therapist, counselor, or psychologist. Counselors may have certain certifications, such as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs). Family therapy is designed to provide support, guidance, and education to all members of a family to help them through the rough patch and increase well-being of the unit, says the Cleveland Clinic.
Issues That Can Be Addressed
You may wonder what issues family therapy can help repair and strengthen. While families attend therapy for a variety of reasons, in general, here are some problems family therapy has been known to fix:
- Strained relationships between certain family members
- Communication issues
- Physical or emotional trauma
- Coping with chronic illness, such as cancer or multiple sclerosis
- Coping with ADHD or autism
- Grief that comes with the death of a loved one
- Coping with sudden changes (incarceration, unemployment, moving, etc.)
- Coping with mental health conditions of one or more family members (anxiety, OCD, eating disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenia, substance use disorder, etc.)
- Help with childhood behavioral conditions (conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), etc.)
Types of Family Therapy
There are many types of family therapy that can help. The type of therapy you receive will depend on the issues involved and the opinion of the therapist.
- Family systems therapy: This helps people overcome mental health problems by utilizing the strengths of their relationships.
- Functional family therapy: This short-term treatment is best for young people experimenting with risky behavior, substance use, or violence, creating solutions for both teens and families while building respect and trust for each individual, according to Very Well Mind.
- Narrative family therapy: Each family member is asked to tell their own story so they can better understand how those experiences have shaped who they are. The goal is to help the person see problems more objectively rather than through a narrow lens.
- Psychoeducation: This involves helping family members understand mental health conditions affecting another member of the group, specifically as it relates to treatment options, medications, and self-help approaches.
- Supportive family therapy: The goal of this therapy type is to create a safe environment where family members can feel comfortable sharing their feelings while getting support from others.
There are many benefits of family therapy, no matter what form it may take. Studies have shown that family therapy is useful in addressing marital problems within the family unit, difficulty communicating and expressing emotions, inconsistent parenting, sibling conflict, adapting to major life changes, and developing healthy relationships after divorce or death.
Here at Growing Together Preventive & Psychological Services, we understand how easy it can be to misdirect our frustrations toward the people we love the most, especially under mounting pressures. Our therapists are here to provide a steady hand, a guiding light, and an objective eye to return stability to your family unit.
Book a Free Family Therapy Consultation With Growing Together Preventive & Psychological Services
Growing Together Preventive & Psychological Services has licensed therapists that specialize in family therapy. Depending on your family’s situation and desired outcomes, our experienced therapists will tailor your family counseling accordingly. Over time, counseling may include some individual sessions, couples sessions, dyadic sessions, and/or some whole family sessions. Book your free consultation now for a family therapy session today.