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Family Therapy

When daily life becomes too difficult and too stressful to handle, many people often rely on their families for support. Family systems are often a great source of love and concern. However, there are instances that family members can inflict pain and distress on each other.

Being close to one’s family has its advantages and disadvantages. Thankfully, there is a type of therapy that can help improve and strengthen the bond between family members.

What is Family Therapy?

Family therapy is a popular psychotherapeutic approach that aims to resolve problems and issues within the context of the most fundamental group in our society. This type of therapy is often recommended for families who are having difficulties in communicating and resolving conflicts.

Family therapy is usually facilitated by a psychologist, social worker or a licensed therapist. These professionals may have graduate and post graduate degrees. More often than not they have credentials from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy or the AAMFT.

A family therapy session usually lasts an hour to an hour and a half. This type of therapy is often short term. An average treatment can last 6 to 20 sessions.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker

When is Family Therapy needed?

Family therapy can be beneficial for families who are going through difficult transitions like divorce or death of a loved one. Nevertheless, this type of therapy is recommended for individuals who are suffering from changes that may affect his relationship with his family.

Families of people suffering from mental illness and substance abuse can also benefit from family therapy. Family therapy can provide them a safe space to speak about their grievances and concerns towards their afflicted family member.

How can individuals prepare for a family therapy session?

Before taking it upon yourself to schedule an appointment with a family therapist, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Family members’ consent – It is important to discuss the option of family therapy to all family members concerned before scheduling an appointment with a therapist. Not everyone in the group might agree that going to therapy is the best way to handle a situation.  As such, this disagreement can only exacerbate the situation.
  • Availability – Each family member has their own commitments and responsibilities. Before engaging in therapy, it is best to consult each member of the family regarding when they would like to schedule the meeting with the therapist.
  • Cost – Discussing payment plans and options with individual members of the family before booking an appointment is definitely the safest route to pursue.

What can be expected from a family therapy session?

Family therapy sessions are highly dependent on the specific situation a family system is going through. Usually, a session requires the attendance of the whole family. These sessions take about 50 minutes to an hour.

During the therapy, the licensed professional may ask certain questions which would uncover details about how the family deals with problems and conflicts. Moreover, the sessions would explore the roles each individual take on in the context of the group. It is the perfect space to air out grievances and discuss unresolved issues.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

What are the benefits of family therapy?

Family therapy provides a safe venue to discuss feelings and issues that would otherwise be left unaddressed. It is a place where ample attention is given to each individual’s concern.
As such, family therapy can improve a family’s communication skills. It also promotes understanding and collaboration amongst the family members. Developing a total trust between family members would help the family unit surmount more difficult life challenges in the future.

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