WHY FAMILY THERAPY? There are many reasons that families participate in therapy together, including parenting issues, conflict, communication problems, illness of a family member, depression, trauma, changes in family make-up (such as divorce or re-marriage), empty nest, grief after loss of a loved one or pet, poor performance in school, job or school stress, job loss, behavioral issues, mental illness, substance or alcohol use problems, arguments, etc.
While many families deal with one or more of these problems on a regular basis and handle them quite well, there may be times when stress in the family feels overwhelming. Family therapists are trained to help families at such times to develop empathy for one-another and to create effective coping skills.
A FAMILY THERAPIST:
Teaches family members about how families function in general and, in particular, how their own functions.
Helps the family focus less on any member who has been identified as ill, or who causes a lot of problems, and focus more on the family as a whole.
Helps to identify conflicts and anxieties and helps the family develop strategies to resolve them.
Strengthens all family members so they can work on their problems together.
Teaches ways to handle conflicts and changes within the family differently.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Family therapy is a very active type of therapy, and family members are often given assignments. For example, parents may be asked to delegate more responsibilities to their children. In the first couple of sessions, the family and the therapist set mutual goals and discuss the length of time expected to achieve the goals. The number of sessions required varies, depending on the type of problems and the willingness of the members to participate in therapy. However, not all members of the family attend each session.
I approach my work with families using elements of Structural Family Therapy (SFT) and Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT). Some in the field of therapy would say that the two don’t go well together. I would say that I can’t imaging practicing one without the other.
From Structural Family Therapy
Structural Family Therapy is an approach to psychology that looks at problems within a family by observing the relationships between family members and subsets within the family. As the therapist observes these subsystems, he or she can develop ways in which to alter the relationships within the family in order to create a healthier pattern.
From Emotionally Focused Family Therapy
The goals of Emotionally Focused Family Therapy are to expand and reorganize important emotional responses, and to implement and foster the creation of a secure bond between family members. Emotionally focused therapy helps create secure and lasting bonds between partners and family members and strives to reinforce the positive bonds that already exist. EFT is a practical technique that can facilitate change in families and relationships that exhibit a wide range of challenges. EFT works to intervene where needed and create change to help relationships work more effectively through a spirit of harmony and respect.
I would love to help you and your family!