What is Family Therapy?
Family therapy is a kind of psychological therapy that aims to help a family improve their communication, become more functional, and overcome significant problems. Families go for therapy to seek help with relationships and mental health together.
On many occasions, family therapy has helped develop better environments for children to grow up in. It is an avenue to resolve both immediate and long-standing conflicts, and create warmer homes that help families to flourish.
What problems can Family Therapy help with?
Family therapy is a very broad field that has a very long history of helping with all kinds of problems. Any issue that affects any area of the life of an individual in the family or the lives of all the family members can be brought to therapy.
Everyone has problems, but most families seek help through therapy when they feel that their problems are getting to be too much to handle.
Some of the things that a therapist can help with are:
- General problems with communication, relationships, or conflict
- Mental health issues in the family
- Addiction or substance abuse
- Financial hardships
- Difficult behaviour in children
- An illness in the family
- Depression, anxiety, trauma, or other psychological issues
- Caring for a family member with a disability
- Death of a family member
- Big changes or new chapters in life
- Coping with a difficult experience
The things that family therapy can help with do not necessarily have to directly affect the whole family. Sometimes, it is a problem that just one member is experiencing, but that the family would like to be a part of or be more supportive about.
The problems that a family can go to therapy for help with do not have to be very grave either. Some parents would like to have a little help getting their child adjust to a new school, or maybe learn a little bit more about parenting.
Therapists are receptive, flexible, and open to any problems that your family might need help with.
Benefits of Family Therapy
There are many possible benefits that individuals and families can get by going for family therapy. The specific things that you and your family will take away from therapy will likely be specific to the problem at hand. A therapist will first help the family solve this problem, but will also help address the root of the problem.
There are also general benefits that the majority of families experience while going for therapy. A lot of the time, family therapy directly addresses communication issues. However, a lot of other problems also require family members to go beyond the usual extent of their communication.
Families end up sharing their thoughts and feelings during sessions, and are also encouraged to listen to one another a little more than usual. This may carry on out of the session and into the daily life of the family, improving their relationships in the process.
Aside from this, families that go for therapy may also draw up healthier boundaries and define roles more clearly. They may become more supportive of one another and overcome future problems in better, more effective ways. When invested in the process, families can become more unified as a unit and more equipped to move forward as individual members grow and change.
Types of Family Therapy
There are a few types of framework used in family therapy, although therapists do not necessarily stick to one type. The following are just a few examples of these approaches:
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a psychological framework consisting of techniques that aim to help people let go of unhealthy thoughts and behaviours.
It can be employed in the family therapy setting to help individuals overcome their weaknesses. It can also help the unit adopt healthy approaches to handling their problems.
Family Systems Therapy
Family Systems Therapy is a general approach with many different forms. In general, it views the family as one unit while at the same time treating members and different elements as individual parts that have unique relationships with one another.
This frame of mind helps the therapist and the family employ strategic measures to deal with problems in healthy ways.
Supportive Family Therapy
Supportive Family Therapy is a simple approach that involves getting participants to express their feelings while being more open to each others’ feelings.
Aside from giving advice when applicable, the therapist’s role is to help the family establish a safe space where people can speak freely. Family members end up becoming more supportive of each other through the sessions.
Frequently Asked Questions about Family Therapy
Is family therapy effective?
Family therapy has been used for many years, and has strong empirical evidence that supports its effectiveness in improving family dynamics. It has helped many families respond to crises that affect the unit or an individual member.
Family therapy has proven effective even in large-scale problems such as substance abuse and violence. Many families go to therapy to learn how to support a member with a chronic illness or mental health problems.
What can I expect from family therapy?
Family therapy can look different depending on the problem that the family is having and the approach chosen by the therapist. However, sessions mostly involve talking or simple exercises.
Sessions usually last around an hour or longer. Usually, sessions will take place once a week for a few weeks, depending on your agreement with your therapist. Not all sessions will necessarily involve all members of the family.
At some point, family members will likely have to confront strong or complicated feelings. Being fully committed to family therapy will often require some degree of honesty and courage.
What is the difference between family therapy and family counselling?
These terms are sometimes used interchangeably. The real technical distinction lies in the qualifiactions of the professional facilitating the sessions.
Counselors usually hold bachelor’s degrees, with some form of studies in counseling. People licensed to conduct therapy, on the other hand, usually hold a master’s degree.
Neither one is inferior to the other. It all depends on the needs of the family. Learning more about the specific services provided by a particular professional is the best way to determine if they fit your situation well enough.
How much does family therapy cost?
The range of how much family therapy costs is quite broad. You may find services for as low as $100 per session, while some other therapists may charge more than $300 per session.
Your therapist may offer Medicare rebates for their services. It is best to ask them directly about whether or not they do, and what the particualr discount would be should you be eligible to avail.
Starting Family Therapy
Deciding to go for family therapy can be daunting and even nerve-racking for some. It is important to remember that family therapy is a choice that will likely help rather than harm.
Many people find family therapy to be a very enriching experience that helps strengthen the relationship between family members. If you are interested in therapy or think that you and your family might benefit from it, we recommend that you contact us at [contact details] to learn more about our services.