Family relationships are an important part of your psychological health. The family often serves as the platform you take your identity from and it can be your main support. It can also, however, be your main source of anxiety, misunderstanding, and upset.
Family therapy focuses on relationships between people, helping families to help each other. It is a well-established psychotherapeutic model that is proven to help, whether you are blood related, extended family, a couple, or a group of people who choose to define yourselves as family.
Your individual issues are not the focus in a family therapy session, your family unit itself is. Sessions are about noticing the patterns and interactions at play in your relationships and helping you find new ways to change and grow together. And the environment created by your family therapist is one that doesn’t focus on who is at fault or to blame, but rather on what can be done to improve and solve situations you are facing.
A family is a system where if there is one part not working properly, then the whole system starts to break down. Family therapy helps to identify the negative interactions or cycles that can start to emerge within family systems, and to de-escalate these, and then rebuild positive cycles of interaction, so that the family can become stronger and more cohesive; and turn towards each other again, instead of away from each other. Family therapy focuses to deal with an issue that belongs to one member of your family or one that everyone is experiencing. It is a chance for a group conversation in a supportive environment that helps you see new ways through together. It does not only focus on adults, but it is also a very effective way of helping struggling children or adolescents. You don’t have to be experiencing great difficulties to attend family therapy. It’s also very useful as a check-in to keep your relationships on track.
Whilst ideal for as many family members to attend as are affected by the difficulties, it is possible to make a start with those family members that are willing to participate.
General Family issues that therapy focuses on and helps with are:
- separation, divorce
- couple issues
- difficulties during adolescence
- child behavioural difficulties
- parenting challenges
- illness and bereavement
- fostering, adoption, stepfamilies
- life changes like retirement, ageing, job changes