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.
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.