HomeHealth A-ZA Comprehensive Guide to Family Therapy

A Comprehensive Guide to Family Therapy

Family therapy, also known as family counselling, is a kind of psychological counselling that looks into a family’s concerns and issues that are affecting the healthy functioning of the family unit. This therapy helps a family overcome a difficult stage or period of life, major conflict between the members, or overcome any behavioral health issues in any family member.

Family therapy is done to resolve the conflict and have better communication between each member of the family. This type of family counselling is usually done by a psychologist, licensed therapist, or clinical social worker. These health counsellors are also known as therapists, have graduate degrees and postgraduate degrees in psychology, and may also hold the (AAMFT) American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy credentials.

Family therapy does not necessarily mean that all the family members will join the counselling session. It may be that only those members who are willing to work things out and willing to participate are seeking family therapy. Family counselling sessions will help you deepen your family connections by reducing the communication gap. It will equip your family with the techniques necessary to deal with stressful times lifelong, even after your therapy is over.

What Does A Family Therapy Session Entail?

Family Therapy is a procedure to seek a solution for the disruptions affecting your family life by understanding the root of the conflicts.

Preparation for Family Therapy

If you have a family doctor or you seek help from a primary healthcare doctor, you can take their help to get a therapist’s referral. You can also seek recommendations from friends and relatives who have gone through this situation or have taken family therapy. Take assistance from people who you know might help you get a good therapist, such as local or state mental health agencies. These suggestions are very important if it is your first time, and you have no clue about which therapist will be the best.

Before seeking out a particular therapist, it is very important to check out or do some research on the therapist so that you know if it fits your family. Some factors and aspects that you should consider are;

  • Educational Qualification and Experience- What is the educational qualification and background of the therapist? Is the therapist accredited by a  professional organization? Does the therapist have any special training in family counselling? What is his or her experience in family psychotherapy?
  • Location and Availability: Where is the office of the therapist? Is it possible for you to seek them during their office hours? Will the therapist be available in an emergency?
  • Number and Duration of the Session: How often does the therapist take sessions? How long does one session go? How many sessions do you expect for your family?
  • Fees: What is the charge for each of the sessions? Is it required to pay the total fees at one time? Is there any cancel return fees policy?

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What should be the Expectations from a Family therapy session?

Family therapy sessions are usually taken by family members together. However, in some cases, a family member can also come for family counseling individually.

Sessions may vary from therapist to therapist but are usually for 50 – 60 minutes. Family counseling or therapy often is for less number of sessions, usually, 10-12 sessions; however, it will differ from family to family according to their issues and situations. The therapist you will consult will share information about these aspects.

During the therapy session, you can:

  • Explore your family’s way of expressing things, ability to fight with a particular problem, and communicate productively.
  • Explore the role of each family member, rules, and personal behavioral pattern to recognize issues that add to struggle and conflict and their approaches to work through these issues.

Distinguish your family’s qualities, for example, really caring for each other, and shortcomings, for example, trouble trusting each other. 

Does Your Family Need Therapy?

Family therapy is for those families dealing with crises that are caused due to grief, stress, conflict, or anger. These situations can break down the relationships within a family and aggravate communication issues. 

Family therapy helps such families. It will teach how to communicate better, cope with difficult situations in the long term, and bring everyone in a family closer.

What is the need for Family Therapy?

Family therapy results in improving troubled relationships with your family members. It helps a family to overcome all the conflicts and issues which were making their family break. 

Family Therapy can be regarding any issues, such as marital issues, financial crisis issues, conflicts between children and parents, or any behavioural change impact on the family such as the mental illness of a member, substance abuse, etc.

Family therapy is not just for the couple or not for the whole family; it can be as you want. If it is related to problems between you and your partner, only you both can come to the therapy, and if the conflict is between all the members, the whole family can attend to improve their relationships and make the unit strong.

Family therapy can be taken with other mental health treatments. If anyone from your family suffers from an addiction or any kind of mental illness, they might also require rehabilitation or additional treatment along with family therapy. For instance:

  • Suppose your family is going for family therapy to cope up with a serious mental illness of a family member, such as schizophrenia. To make family therapy effective, the schizophrenia patient must take individual treatment for it.
  • If a family member has any kind of addiction that is the cause for conflict in the family, the family can go for family therapy. However, to make this therapy more effective, it’s better if the member who is addicted seeks some specialized help or seeks rehabilitation. 

Benefits of Family Therapy

Family therapy improves the relationship of the members in a family by :

  • Uniting a family after a conflict
  • Making the family more honest towards each other
  • Helping in instilling trust between the family members
  • Developing a supportive environment in the family
  • Helping in reducing stress and tension in the family
  • Giving strength to forgive family members and staying  happy
  • Dealing with issues and conflict resolution through proper communication
  • Removing the silence factor and bringing  in more communication

Conclusion

Family therapy or counseling doesn’t naturally settle clashes and conflicts in a family or make an upsetting circumstance disappear. In any case, it can help family members comprehend each other better, and it can give abilities to adapt to challenging circumstances more successfully. It might likewise assist the family in accomplishing a feeling of harmony.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Whatever is shared during family therapy, is it kept private? 

This is a common rule for all therapists to keep their patients’ conversations confidential. Only cases where the law requires it to be revealed are an exception.

How many family sessions may be required?

It depends on the issues and conflicts your family is going through and would be decided by the therapist . But generally, 10-12 sessions of 50-60 minutes are given to the family.

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Verified By Dr Satyabrata Dash
M.D(Psychiatry), Senior Consultant - Psychiatry, Apollo Hospitals Bhubanswar

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