Family therapy is a type of psychological therapy that aims to enhance the interactions between family members to lessen distress and conflict. Ideally, all family members who are affected by the situation should be in the same room; however, this isn’t always possible.
The family is the treatment unit in family therapy, and this concept of families and not the number of individuals in the room is what distinguishes family therapy from solo counseling.
Instead of focusing on one person’s single role in the problem, family counseling looks at problems as patterns or systems that need to be altered. This is why it’s sometimes called “strengths-based treatment.” Strong family bonds are important for each family member’s mental health.
This strategy can be useful in assisting family members in adjusting to a loved one’s struggle with an addiction, a medical condition, or a mental health diagnosis, for instance. It can also help with conflict resolution and communication.
Common reasons to opt for Family therapy
- Domestic violence and assault
- Parental discord
- Divorce and separation
- Separation anxiety in children and custodial issues
- A family member’s prolonged illness
- Loss of a family member that is unexpected or distressing
- If the entire family has been affected by a big trauma or change, such as a move, a natural disaster, or the imprisonment of a sibling or parent
- Behavioral issues and temperamental issues, issues if the child is struggling in school, has a substance abuse problem, or has an eating disorder
- Getting ready for a remarriage
- Adjustment to a new family member, such as the birth of a sibling or adoption
Benefits of Family Therapy
Gives an opportunity to discuss one’s feelings about specific challenges that the family is struggling with and come up with solutions. Helps in understanding and respecting other family members’ points of view and opinions
- Develops empathy and compassion among the family members.
- Helps to create and keep healthy boundaries
- Helps to understand the family dynamics better
- Assists people to overcome the stress and handle difficult situations in a less volatile manner
- Enables better communication among family members, one gets to learn how to communicate feelings more effectively and how to be open and honest with one another.
- Helps to learn about the upsides and downsides of a family
- Improves communication and strengthens the bond between parents and children
- Gain a comprehensive understanding of how a family works and what each member’s role is
- Helps to resolve sibling conflicts.
Disadvantages of family therapy
- There is no room for privacy as all confidential matters need to be shared with the therapist
- The entire process can escalate trauma and can be emotionally draining
- As undesirable patterns and behaviors become more obvious, family difficulties might temporarily worsen.
Family therapy may not be able to settle every dispute that a family faces, but it can help the family build better-coping skills and more effective communication methods.
Although there are a variety of family therapy strategies to pick from, it’s crucial to remember that one of the most significant aspects of therapy is choosing a therapist with whom the entire family can establish trust.
Family counseling and therapy could be a good fit only if the family is committed to learning more and work as a team rather than throwing blame on anyone in particular.