Family therapy is exactly as its name implies. It is therapy from a trained therapist for at least two members of the same family. It is often the husband and wife who attends but it can include other family members. The therapist’s services are requested because of problems within the family. Feeling unable to resolve the conflicts by themselves, the family members work with a professional in the hope of finding a resolution.
Many family therapists hold sessions with just one family member present. This enables the individual to freely express their thoughts and describe what they see as the problem without fear of contradiction or interruption. When the therapist has heard all sides of the story, family members attend the sessions together.
There is always give and take in family therapy sessions and the role of the therapist is to be fair and balanced and allow all family members to better appreciate the feelings and opinions of their parents, children or siblings.
Any so-called dysfunctional family is likely to have problems. Children behaving in an unruly way, children feeling they are not being treated equally and one or more family members suffering some form of reaction such as anxiety or depression as a result of family conflicts.
There are times when one or more family member does not want to participate in the family therapy sessions. It’s possible to continue without that family member but not in all cases. The therapist can try to ascertain why there is reluctance to attend and there will be times when the family therapy will not work because of the refusal to participate by one or more family member.
There are times or circumstances when family therapy is either not the best option or not an option at all. If a therapist is treating an adult with serious problems, involving a young child of that adult may be unwise. No child should be seen to be ‘fixing’ a distressed parent and therefore involving the youngster would not be recommended.
There are many resources which deal with the issue of family counseling or family therapy. Any person worried about the conflict within their family should consider using family therapy. It may not be the best option in every situation but it has a long history of being successful in resolving disputes and saving marriages.
Therapy is a wide-ranging subject with various forms offered to various subjects – individuals, groups of the same age and families. The skill, experience and training of the therapist are vitally important. Not all therapists are experienced in family therapy work. It is important that you choose a therapist who knows this area of counseling and who can give your family an excellent chance of working successfully through its problems.
In seeking a family therapist, you should ask a number of questions including the expected time it will take to resolve the issues, the costs, the type of treatment which will apply and the success rate of this therapist when working with other families who seek therapy.
Here are additional resources you might be interested in: