What is family therapy?
Humans were meant to be in relationships. That’s why we all grew up in some sort of family system. While family means lots of things to different people, it doesn’t necessarily mean blood relatives. Family is anyone who plays a long-term and supportive role in a person’s life.
Families tend to organize around weakness. Whether that’s a cancer diagnosis, a child with special needs, or a family member with an addiction or mental health issue, the family adapts and attempts to help in some way. However, there are times when the family’s solution actually becomes a new problem or ends up reinforcing the unwanted behavior.
With that in mind, family therapy is a form of treatment that views an individual’s problems as more than just their problems. Those problems live in the context of a system of relationships that must be considered in order for treatment to be holistic. Family therapy works with a family unit or with sub-units within a larger family system. Family therapy then can employ techniques from cognitive therapy, solution-focused therapy, interpersonal therapy or other forms of systemic therapy in order to alleviate the presenting issue and move the family into a more healthy way of functioning.
Family therapy may be helpful in addressing many different issues. These could include:
- Parenting issues
- Establishing family rules, roles, and expectations
- Dealing with a family transition (graduation, new location, etc.)
- Blending families
- Adolescent issues
- Aging parents
- Spiritual or relational growth of the family
- Individual symptoms (depression, anxiety, etc.)
Regardless of the particular issue, family therapy has a proven history of effectiveness as a therapeutic approach. It allows the therapist, and ultimately the family, to see the “big picture” of how individual issues interact in a complex web of relationship interactions. Changing one part of this larger system allows change to reverberate in the entire family. That’s the kind of change that can last for generations!
If you’re looking to make that kind of change and you want those around you to be involved, maybe family therapy is the right direction for you. Schedule an appointment and bring the family!