In an ideal world, home and family life should be a sanctuary – somewhere we escape to at the end of the day after dealing with all the stress and pressure of the world – a place where we are nurtured, loved, encouraged and supported.
But the reality is often very different. What happens when there is conflict within the household, for example?
What Sort of Families can benefit from Family Therapy?
The nuclear family – mum, dad and children – is becoming the exception rather than the norm. Family therapy takes this into account – that there are all types of families. There may be remarriage leading to blended families; there may be ageing parents living in the home; solo parents and children; gay parents and children.
Whatever the family looks like, family therapy can be of help when two or more members – or even the whole family unit – are clashing, resulting in friction, fighting, anger, arguments, behavioural issues, withdrawal, sulking, even violence.
Solution Focused Family Therapy
Solution Focused Therapy for families has been ‘founded on the rationale that there are exceptions to every problem and through examining these exceptions and having a clear vision of a preferred future, client and counsellor, together, can generate ideas for solutions. Solution focused therapists are competency and future focused. They highlight and utilise client strengths to enable a more effective future.’
The aim is to identify how to resolve the issues at hand, something which family and therapist work on together.
Guidelines for Family Therapy
Within this context, family therapy should support and consider the needs of each family member, and the other key relationships in their lives. Although there may be sessions where the family is brought together as a whole, there will also likely be times when individuals, or perhaps a couple of members, will be invited to have a separate session.
You (and your family) are the experts on your family, and family therapy recognises this, helping you to build on your strengths and resources. It is not about the therapist working “on” your family, rather it is a case of working “with” you.
Your family therapist should:
- allow each person to have time to talk and express how they feel;
- support each member of the family equally;
- diffuse any potential conflict as far as possible;
- encourage all family members to listen to each other;
- not permit any abusive, aggressive or threatening behaviour.
Families can be tried and tested in numerous ways. Whether your family is struggling to cope with grief and loss, constant conflict, or some other challenge, family therapy can make all the difference.
Author: M1 Psychology
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- H. Goldberg & I. Goldberg ‘Family Therapy An Overview’ Seventh Edition, 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, USA.