What is Family Therapy?

Family therapy is an approach to treatment that emphasizes the interconnectedness and interdependency of family members rather than focusing on individuals separately or as detached from the family, and can involve all members of a nuclear or extended family. This approach regards the family, as a whole, as the unit of treatment, and emphasizes such factors as relationships and communication patterns rather than traits or symptoms in individual members.

 

It is a conceptualization of the family as a dynamic, interactive unit that continuously experiences evolving capacities in its structure and function for each member. There are specific subsets of individual’s that are targeted and analyzed as distinct entities (such as mother-father, sister-brother, and parent-child) to determine the impact of their relationship to the family’s level of functioning in the home and the community. The main functions that this intervention style seeks to strengthen within the family are understood to be centered on organization/structure/planning, emotion regulation, nurturance, and the developmental of social skills.

 

When Can Family Therapy Be Useful?

Anyone who has a medical or psychological condition that impacts their level of functioning in relation to the extended family system may benefit from family therapy. Family therapy has been implemented successfully to treat a range of families in various situations, some examples include:

 

  • Substance abuse problems (alcohol, prescription drugs)
  • Chronic mental health issues (severe anxiety and depression)
  • Conflict within the parental relationship
  • Behavioral or academic problems with children/adolescents
  • Siblings that are not able to problem solve or communicate effectively

How Do I Get Started with Family Therapy?

Meeting with a family therapist for an initial evaluation is the first step. In this visit, the therapist gathers some background information from all members about your patterns of interaction, styles of communication, and establishment/maintenance of boundaries to determine which sequences of interaction are the most problematic and need to be targeted for the system to be successful. To request an initial evaluation, fill out or contact form here, or give us a call.