Family therapy is different from other forms of therapy not because of the “number of people in the room,” but rather because of the methods used to assist family members to heal and grow stronger as a unit.
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Family therapy is impacted by the perspective of each family member. Small changes can have a greater impact on the rest of the family and these can contribute to creating problems or solving them.
The aim is to improve the relationships between family members in order to lessen distress and conflict. When a family is in turmoil, all members of the family may be affected. Family counsellors work with families’ relational patterns of interaction and the family system as a whole. This type of therapy is sometimes referred to as a “strengths-based treatment” because it considers problems as patterns or systems that need to be adjusted rather than problems residing in the individual.
Reasons to See a Family Counsellor
Families may seek therapy to address a single significant issue or a combination of issues. Several frequent reasons for family therapy intervention include the following:
- At school or at home, an adolescent is having discipline or behaviour problems.
- You suspect your adolescent is struggling with illegal substance abuse.
- The family structure has been expanded by the addition of a new family member through birth, adoption, foster care, or the presence of an extended family member such as a grandparent.
- One spouse is a victim of domestic violence.
- A family member has passed away.
- The family group is undergoing a major change.
- A member suffers from a mental illness.
- A spouse has lost a job, or the family is struggling with financial issues
Even though some of these issues stem from one person, therapy is to benefit the whole family, not just the individual.
What to Expect From Family Therapy
Typically, therapy is short-term — maybe around 12 visits — and not all family members have to attend every therapy session. Every member of the family can benefit from participating, though. Family therapy can help participants to:
- Examine your family’s ability to solve problems and express thoughts and emotions in a productive manner,
- Explore family roles, rules and behaviour patterns to identify issues that contribute to conflict and ways to work through these issues,
- Identify your family’s strengths, such as caring for one another, and weaknesses, such as difficulty confiding in one another.
- Develops and maintains healthy boundaries
- Fosters cohesion and communication among family members
- Promotes problem-solving through an understanding of family patterns and dynamics
- Builds empathy and understanding.
- Reduces family conflict
Your first session at Halcyon will allow you and your family members to explain to your Counsellor what brought you to therapy. At the same time, this session allows your counsellor to observe how family members interact with one another. From there, your counsellor will design a treatment plan using the most appropriate and effective therapeutic process for your family’s particular needs.