Family therapy is a type of counselling where family members are brought together to help facilitate communication and problem solving, in order to encourage changes to occur.
In some instances it may be that two particular family members require assistance; in others, there may be a breakdown of communication among the entire family unit. Each family is unique and therefore it is important to tailor family therapy techniques to each individual family’s needs.
How Family Therapy Can Help
Relationships can break down due to a range of issues, and family therapy can help with examples such as: conflict between a teen and their parent/s; difficulties within blended families; difficulties dealing with the death of a child or parent; anger management problems; difficulty coping with a mental health disorder within the family (eg Autism, Schizophrenia etc).
I use evidence-based therapeutic techniques in treatment with clients. With family therapy it is important to provide a forum where each family member feels comfortable to open up about their perception of what is going on. Some key techniques that are helpful in fostering change include:
- Opening up communication and setting boundaries which will enhance the flow of the session.
- Understanding and defining the family’s core values, what they are, why they are important and what needs to be done to get back on track.
- Understanding what the current parenting system is and whether it is working or contributing to the conflict (for example, am I setting unrealistic standards as a parent?).
- Considering environmental factors is also crucial to therapy, to understand whether outside influences are playing a role in family discord (for example – is work stress contributing to anger at home; and the same for children/teens, are pressures at school contributing to their withdrawal or anger at home?).
- Encouraging kindness, compassion and unity is also an important technique to reduce criticism and isolation within the family.
- Reward systems can also be helpful to encourage change.
- Anger management and conflict resolution skills are also useful during family therapy.
As mentioned above, these are just some of the techniques I may utilise in family therapy sessions, and each family treatment plan is individualised.
Often people present to therapy with depression and anxiety and request help for themselves. However, upon exploring the family dynamics, it is often the family as a whole that needs assistance to get back on track.
If you feel as though your family has become disjointed and/or you are living in constant conflict, please book an appointment with me, so we can work on reviving the family unit and alleviating pressure from your life.
Leia Redman is a clinical psychologist, working with children, adolescents, couples and families. She has training and experience in a variety of evidence-based treatment approaches, but is particularly passionate about providing parent support and family therapy.
To make an appointment with Clinical Psychologist Leia Redman try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.
- Dattilio, F. M., & Jongsma, A. E. (2000). The Family Therapy Treatment Planner (1st Edition). Canada. John Wiley & Sons Inc.