The concept of family is traditionally defined by individuals bound by a shared bloodline, marriage, or adoption. However, freedom now exists to define family in our way, whether through the bond of shared experiences, love, or legal documents. Regardless of who you consider a member of your family, family therapy can heal those relationships for them to stand the test of time and hardship.
Family therapy may be something to look into if you and your family are struggling with significant life events such as:
- Marital Issues
- A lack of communication
- Mental health issues
- Substance abuse
Table of Contents
Family Therapy Defined
Family counseling is a form of therapy aimed at identifying and treating issues affecting a family and improving the functioning of healthy family dynamics. The approach generally views families as a unit that operates together, where the action of one family member inevitably affects the others. On the other hand, individual therapy may focus on how a person manages and interprets the world around them through their unique lens.
Family therapy also typically aims to deliver solutions to more short-term problems. However, many of the skills are transferrable to other conflicts later on and can certainly impact a family dynamic for the better in the long run.
Family therapists help you and your family by improving your communication skills, providing healthy coping mechanisms, and teaching strategies for peaceful conflict resolution.
Other benefits include:
- Improving problem-solving skills as a family
- Bringing dysfunctional patterns or behaviors to light
- Helping family members develop healthy boundaries
- Improving conflicts between siblings
- Helping separated parents provide consistent parenting to their children
- Transitioning to a new normal after a major life change
- Coping with a death or serious illness
Types Of Family Therapy
Depending on your specific needs, certain types of family therapy may be more suitable for you and your family.
- Psychoeducation: If mental health conditions are something causing conflict on confusion within your family, psychoeducation aims to educate family members on these mental health conditions and lead them toward evidence-based treatments.
- Brief Strategic Family Therapy: Centered around a child or young adult in crisis, this therapeutic approach typically only lasts 12 sessions and helps families make positive behavior changes conducive to the recovery of the young person in question.
- Structural Family Therapy: Developed in 1960, this approach helps families reorganize their subsystems and helps families understand healthy boundaries so that interaction becomes more productive, mainly if there are children involved.
- Systemic Family Therapy: This type of therapy views the family as one unit, where all members are smaller parts of a larger machine. Each family member’s actions affect the rest of the unit, so the focus here is on making these interactions smoother and beneficial for all. You can also visit BetterHelp to learn more about the importance of healthy family dynamics.
How Do You Know You’ve Found The Right Therapist?
If you think you’ve found a therapist with a background suited to your family’s needs, you must ask yourself and your therapist some questions to ensure that they’re a good fit. It’s also important to note that you’re not obliged to continue working with a therapist if you’re not a good match, and it’s better for everyone involved if you move on elsewhere. Think of meeting with your therapist for the first time as an interview.
Some questions to consider asking before continuing treatment with them would be:
- Are they licensed in your state?
- Do they have previous experience with similar cases to yours?
- Is the therapist’s office close to home, or is it a long, inconvenient commute?
- Do they take health insurance, or would you have to pay for your session out-of-pocket?
- And finally, do you feel like they’re actively listening to you and supporting you during your sessions?
- Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.
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