Every family has its struggles. Life throws curveballs, tragedies happen, and conflicts arise. It can be hard to weather these storms without the support of a trained and licensed professional. That’s where family therapy comes in. It is a wonderful option for families looking to strengthen their connection and get through difficult times in a positive and constructive way.
What Is Family Therapy?
Family therapy is a type of psychological counseling provided by a clinical social worker or licensed marriage and family therapist. It helps family members improve communication, resolve conflicts, or navigate difficult times such as the loss of a loved one or a divorce. Unlike individual counseling, which views problems as residing within the individual, family therapy views problems as patterns or systems that need to be adjusted
The term family therapy doesn’t refer to the number of people who are present in the therapy session, but instead to a specific perspective or framework for dealing with issues that arise within the context of familial relationships. Family here is not just about blood relatives, but can include anyone who plays a long-term supportive role in one’s life. Improved family relationships will help alleviate family tensions and conflicts, but can also benefit an individual’s mental health.
Who Should Seek Family Therapy?
People seek family therapy for a variety of reasons. Some may seek family therapy because they have family issues they want to solve, which often intensify due to lack of communication. Others may want to improve their relationship with certain family members like a mother and an adolescent daughter or parents with a child who is struggling at school. Some families experience an upsetting or traumatic event like divorce, loss, or severe accident that requires the assistance of a counselor to work through the emotional impact. Other families might seek support to cope with a mentally ill family member or someone struggling with substance use disorder.
When a family member is suffering from serious mental illness or addiction, family therapy often provides an additional form of support in conjunction with other types of individual treatment for the person who is struggling.