We are now seeing face to face client again using masks and hand sanitiser to protect clients from Covid while visiting our clinics. We also offer video call sessions.
by Dr. Becky Spelman on 07/09/2017

What it is Family Therapy?

Family therapy is a well-recognized therapy approach primarily aimed at the family system as a social unit, in contrast to other psychotherapy approaches such as psychodynamic or cognitive behavioural therapy which focus on the individual. Family therapy is a heterogeneous field which includes different schools and models that share several principles and guiding assumptions.

Family therapy rest on systemic assumptions or contextual perspective which emphasise the role of wider systems, such as community, society and the culture to which the family belongs. Family therapists often call themselves `systemic therapists to emphasize the the impact of the wider systems and social contexts on people’s lives.

The systemic perspective, which underpins the practice of most family therapists, views the problems of an individuals in relation to the different contexts in which people live while also considering socio-economic circumstances and political processes.

Family therapy and systemic practice aim to enhance the ability of family members to support each other, enabling family members to manage more efficiently transitional stages of family development or stressful life events. Family therapy can be useful in times of crisis as well as with longstanding problems. It can also prevent behavioural problems deteriorating into delinquency or mental health breakdown.

FAMILY THERAPY – FAQ

Yes, depending on your family’s individual situation and needs, you will be offered a particular type of therapy tailored specifically to the main issues you are dealing with.

Some of the major types of Family Therapy include:

  • Systemic Family Therapy, which explores in particular the different ways in which people relate to one another within the family in the context of the wider culture and society in which they live.
  • Supportive Family Therapy, which helps members to talk about a specific issue or issues that they feel are having a negative impact on the family.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for families, which helps the people involved to address specific behaviours and thought processes that are causing problems within the family unit.
  • Psychodynamic therapy, which explores the issues that underlie the presenting problems and, by explaining them, seeks to find answers and solutions.

Family therapy, which is often referred to as family counselling, has roots in social work practice dating back to the nineteenth century, but major advances in the field took place from the 1960s, and the field has continued to develop and grow ever since.

Your therapist will work with your family to uncover the salient issues and strive with you to find a way forward. You just need to attend sessions with an open mind and the willingness to really listen to and collaborate with one another. There is no need to do any “homework” to prepare for your sessions with the therapist.

Of course, if there are issues with domestic violence or other forms of abuse in the family, immediate action should be taken to secure everyone’s safety; these issues should not be discussed in the therapeutic environment until the immediate danger has been dealt with.

Sessions typically last between an hour and an hour and a half.

That largely depends on you! There is no “quick fix” solution to endemic problems in the family, and all of those involved in therapy must be prepared to commit to attending a number of sessions, and to engaging with therapy, in order to see results. However, many families do start to see positive change after a few sessions. Most treatment programmes last from six to twenty sessions.

A number of variables impact on the cost per session. Please get in touch with the Private Therapy Clinic to discuss your specific needs.

What sort of family attends Family Therapy?All sorts of families can need therapy at times! In fact, accepting that you need help is a sign of strength. Here are a few examples:

  • Families can struggle to cope with major change, like bereavement, moving home, or when a family member starts to suffer from a chronic illness. Often, therapy can help them to move through this difficult period, “regroup”, and get on with their lives in a positive manner.
  • Sometimes families get stuck in a cycle of repeating difficult behavioural patterns. This can happen, for example, when family members take on specific roles in the family and interact with one another in a way that is less than helpful for their individual and collective emotional health. Family therapy can help them to break this cycle.
  • Working with a therapist can help when a family has to deal with a crisis of trust or confidence, as may result from a period of marital infidelity, drug or alcohol abuse, or other forms of destructive behaviour.
  • Sometimes families seem to be fine until someone enters a new phase in their life, and everyone has to figure out how to cope. For example, when grandparents suddenly need more care, or teenagers are pushing at the boundaries set by their parents, it can be useful to attend some therapy sessions as a way to start adjusting to the “new normal”.
  • Families who attend therapy do not have to be seriously damaged or dysfunctional—quite the reverse! Some families actually find it useful to attend therapy as a “tune up” when they can explore and assess their family dynamics in a safe space.

Common issues a family could benefit from therapy are:

  • Health problems
  • Child and adolescent mental health
  • Adult mental health
  • Psychosexual difficulties
  • Alcohol and other substance abuse
  • Marital problems including domestic violence
  • Separation and divorce issues
  • LGBTQ issues
  • Family life cycle and transitional stages of life issues
  • Parenting difficulties
  • Traumatic experiences, loss and bereavement

 In order to treat these issues, therapists will:

  • Observe how people interact within units
  • Evaluate and help to resolve relationship problems
  • Diagnose and treat psychological disorders within a family context
  • Guide clients through transitional crises such as divorce or death
  • Highlight problematic relational or behavioural patterns
  • Help replace dysfunctional behaviours with healthy alternatives

The benefits of family therapy include:

  • Better understanding of healthy boundaries and family patterns and dynamics
  • Enhanced communication
  • Improved problem solving
  • Deeper empathy
  • Reduced conflict and better anger management skills,

A family therapy session usually lasts between 60-90 minutes; the intervals between sessions may vary from one to several weeks depending on the presented problems, needs of the family members and other variables which are negotiated collaboratively with clients. The average length of family therapy treatment ranges between 6 and 20 sessions.

Family therapists most often work with more than one family member in the room but individual sessions or meetings with parents separate from children for example are also offered when appropriate.

How Can I Get Family Therapy in London?

If you would like to talk to someone about family therapy in London, please get in touch with us at the Private Therapy Clinic by telephone at 020 38871738 or book online.

THERAPISTS WHO OFFER Family Therapy AT PRIVATE THERAPY CLINIC

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