What is Family Therapy and What is it For?

Family therapy is a type of counseling that helps family members improve communication and resolve conflicts. Session are typically led by either a clinical social worker, psychologist, or licensed therapist.

Unlike individual therapy, where people may participate in weekly sessions          for years, family therapy is intended to be short-term. Session may include all family members, or just those who are willing and able to attend.

Treatment plans are unique and will be based on your family’s personal issues and goals. With that said, all sessions focus on teaching skills to rebuild, or in some cases build, family connections and cope with problems as a loving and cohesive unit.

Problems commonly addressed are martial or financial problems, conflict between children and parents, and the impact of mental illness or substance abuse on the entire family.

Family therapy can be pursued at the same time as a member is in individual therapy. For instance, if a family member is suffering from depression, the entire family is affected and can benefit from open discussion of the issue in family therapy. The person suffering from depression will also continue with his or her individualized treatment plan, which may include medications, one-on-one counseling or other treatment.

What You Can Expect

Family therapy will typically bring together several family members for therapy sessions. Not all members will be required for each session, and most therapists are willing to create a treatment plan that is flexible and takes into account the family’s schedule.

Most sessions are about an hour, and the overall goal is to facilitate positive change within a six-month period. Some families may meet once a week, every week, while others may meet less often or more often. How many session you’ll need will depend on your family’s particular needs and the recommendation of your therapist.

During family therapy, you can:

  • Examine your family’s ability to problem solve and communicate thoughts and feelings in a healthy way
  • Identify your family’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Explore family roles, dynamics, rules and behavior patterns so that you can begin to spot issues that frequently contribute to conflict, as well as learn ways to work through them together

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

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