Family therapy seeks to resolve conflicts and strengthen relationships between family members. This is why most family therapists ask all the family members to be in the room during sessions, even though it’s not always required.
The key difference between individual counseling and family therapy is the framework used to identify and address problems.
In family therapy sessions, the family and the therapist work together to identify patterns that need to change. Instead of telling individuals to focus inward, the therapist will ask them to think about their behavior and interactions with others.
Here’s how family therapy works:
Understanding Family Dynamics
A family therapist is usually approached by a single member of the family, who gives them an overview of the problems they’re struggling with.
For example, a therapist may be working with a teen who’s dealing with a drinking problem and then invite the siblings and parents to support them.
During the session, the therapist will try to understand the family dynamics and identify toxic patterns that may push the teen toward substance abuse. They’ll listen to what all the family members have to say and will note their behavior when certain issues are brought up.
Getting Everyone On the Same Page
Dysfunctional families tend to avoid confrontation and brush things under the rug. Family therapists bring unresolved issues to the forefront, so that they can be tackled head-on. They’ll encourage everyone to speak up and share their views on the matter.
Once they hear everyone out, the therapist will help family members accept responsibility for negative patterns and recognize that things need to change.
For family therapy to work, each family member needs to their part; they need to commit to communicating effectively and changing their attitude and behavior. The goal of these therapy sessions must be to heal as a unit and work together to create a more loving and supportive environment for all.
Your therapist may assign you homework to help change your behavior and apply all you’ve learned in therapy to real situations.
If you think your family can benefit from family therapy, consult an experienced family therapist near you.
Azizeh is a family therapist who can help you and your family work through issues that are causing you to drift apart. She also provides family mediation sessions for divorcing couples with kids.
You can schedule an appointment online or call (650) 206-9973 free 20-minute phone consultation.