The saying is "blood is thicker than water.." but we all know that you can't pick your family.... Sometimes the family dynamic can be a source of much stress.  At times, seeking therapy may be the most effective way to deal with issues within the family.  This type of treatment may be used in conjunctions with individual therapy, couples therapy, etc.  

While individual therapy focuses on gaining insight on oneself in order to make changes, family therapy places emphasis on the family as a unit or system and changing the organization of that family system which hopefully will lead to changes in the family members to improve functioning of the unit.   

Family Therapy provides family members, whether its two members or the entire family, the opportunity to voice their feelings, emotions and concerns.  The participants may feel more comfortable sharing their concerns in an atmosphere that is open with a nonjudgmental professional overseeing the discussions.  There are multiple issues that can bring a family in conflict to counseling.  

  • Addiction 

  • Communication Issues

  • Blended and Stepfamily Challenges

  • Parent/Child Relationship Tension

  • Death - Grief  and Loss

  • Adoption

  • Families dealing with children who have developmental issues

  • Life Transition Issues - Birth of child, marriage, divorce, re-marriage, child going off to college.

  • Job loss or retirement

  • Natural Disaster affecting family such as fire, flood, etc.

  • Caring for an Aging Parent

The above list is not exhaustive, but instead includes many of the reasons families are often seen together in
therapy. Based on your family’s current circumstances, a unique treatment plan will be created to fit your families specific needs.


The length of family therapy will vary from family to family.   As with individual therapy methods to helping patients, there are various theoretical orientations for addressing and resolving conflicts within the family dynamic.  Keep in mind, family therapy focuses on treatment of the family system not the symptomatic family member or problem. 

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Structural Family Therapy

(SFT)

 

This type of treatment is most concerned about how families are organized, and the rules that govern their transactions. According to this approach, family problems are maintained by dysfunctional family structures or organisation.

Families are organized in subsystems with boundaries regulating the way the members interact with each other. SFT retains traditional views related to the importance of power and hierarchy in the family.

SFT is an approach to understanding the nature of the family, the presenting problem, and the process of change. This change occurs in family members through a new way of thinking and restructuring of their relationships. The hierarchies, and the rules, clear and hidden, must be understood before the therapist can help the family to change. Hopefully, this change could result in better family interaction.

The three essential concepts in SFT are:

  • family structure

  • family subsystems

  • boundaries

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy 

 

This type of treatment focuses on identifying what is working, and the resulting solution sequences.

Solution focused therapy assumes that small changes are usually all that is needed to effect progress, since changes tend to have a snowball affect into much bigger changes. Thus the focus is on "exceptions" that suggests solutions.

The solution-focused therapy emphasizes solutions rather a problem focus. In this approach, the concern is with change.  The goal is to help clients to think or do things differently in order to increase their satisfaction with their lives

Bowen Family Therapy 

 

The Bowen family therapy approach takes a trangenerational view of family systems, emphasizing the need to separate thought and feelings, and self from others. A major goal of this treatment therapy is differentiation. Differentiation is a very useful concept for understanding interpersonal relationships in families.

The focus of Bowen family system therapy centers around eight key concepts:

 

  1. differentiation of self

  2. triangles

  3. nuclear family emotional systems

  4. family projection process

  5. emotional cutoff

  6. multigenerational transmission process

  7. sibling position

  8. societal emotional process

Therapists using this approach are interested in decreasing anxiety and relieving its symptoms, even more, they aim at increasing each family member’s level of differentiation of self.

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