What is Family Therapy?

By Taylor Roach – MA, Intern  

verified by Psychology Today
Family Therapy

Family therapy helps families build healthier relationships and cope with many different challenges. Family therapy can address a wide variety of relational and/or mental health needs. This form of therapy supports growth and communication for each individual within the family using a systemic method of treatment.

Family therapy is also referred to as systems therapy. Systemic treatment looks at the roles of each family member and the dynamics that play out in the family.  At times these dynamics cause conflict and unhappiness. Family therapy is solution-focused, identifying specific and attainable goals to achieve an optimal outcome.  Issues are addressed within the context of the family system in order to improve the overall functioning of the family. Family therapy incorporates all ages and developmental levels and is tailored to the needs of each family. You will also come to understand your own impact on others and improve your ability to have healthy relationships in all arenas of your life.

What are the Benefits of Family Therapy?

Treatment can help families struggling with such concerns as: mental and emotional disorders, health and behavioral problems, and a wide array of relationship issues. According to the American Association of Family Therapists, “clients report marked improvement in work productivity, co-worker relationships, family relationships, partner relationships, emotional health, overall health, social life, and community involvement”. While learning healthy and productive communication, family therapy also provides a safe space for families to discuss important topics and share individual perspectives.

 What comprises a Family?

Again, family therapy is also referred to as systems therapy.  It can be used with anyone you have a relationship with or any group with which you engage with.  This can be family and/or friends or even people in the workplace. It is the group of people who have the largest influence on a person’s daily life and decisions that are made. Even if these relationships have been broken by conflict or pulled apart by distance, family therapy can assist in repairing connections.

The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists’ website:  www.aamft.org

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