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Introduction
When someone is affected by mental illness or addiction, it can affect the entire family. When that
person enters treatment, the family’s pain and confusion don’t just go away. How does any family
member move past the damage that has occurred? How does the family as a whole strengthen the
ties that hold it together?
Family therapy is one answer. It works together with individual therapy for the benefit of all family
members.
Family therapy is based on the idea that a family is a system of different parts. A change in any
part of the system will trigger changes in all the other parts. This means that when one member of
a family is affected by a behavioral health disorder such as mental illness or addiction, everyone
is affected. As a result, family dynamics can change in unhealthy ways. Lies and secrets can build
up in the family. Some family members may take on too much responsibility, other family
members may act out, and some may just shut down.
Sometimes conditions at home are already unhappy before a family member’s mental illness or
addiction emerges. That person’s changing behaviors can throw the family into even greater
turmoil.
Often a family remains stuck in unhealthy patterns even after the family member with the
behavioral health disorder moves into recovery. Even in the best circumstances, families can find
it hard to adjust to the person in their midst who is recovering, who is behaving differently than
before, and who needs support.
Family therapy can help the family as a whole recover and heal. It can help all members of the
family make specific, positive changes as the person in recovery changes. These changes can help
all family members heal from the trauma of mental illness or addiction.
History of Family therapy
The origins of family therapy did not emerge until the 1940s and 1950s. Researchers and clinicians
challenged the dominant psychoanalytic view of emotional disorders by proposing that these
disorders were symptoms of troubled family relationships rather than subconscious issues.
Research on psychotherapeutic work with family came from theories rooted in sociology,
anthropology, and biology to create an in-depth understanding of the complex family interaction.
Some of the early pioneer of the field include Gregory Bateson, Lyman Wynne, Carl Whitaker,
Murray Bowen, Salvador Minuchin, and Edgar Auerswald etc.
Stages involved in Family therapy
Let’s delve into the five stages of family therapy, a transformative process that helps families
rebuild bonds, communicate effectively, and find healing.
Engagement and Rapport Building
The first stage lays the foundation for the therapeutic journey. Therapists establish a safe and
welcoming environment, allowing family members to open up about their concerns. Building
rapport and trust is crucial for effective therapy. Families in distress find solace in sharing their
experiences, while therapists listen attentively to grasp the dynamics at play.
Assessment and Understanding
During this stage, therapists dive deep into the family’s history, roles, and communication patterns.
By understanding the root causes of conflicts, therapists gain insights that guide the therapeutic
approach. Family members learn to see beyond surface-level disagreements, recognizing deeper
emotional triggers. This understanding paves the way for addressing underlying issues.
Restructuring and Communication Enhancement
Effective communication is the cornerstone of a healthy family dynamic. In this stage, therapists
teach families new ways to communicate and interact. The focus is on active listening, respectful
expression, and validation of each member’s feelings. By replacing negative communication
patterns with positive ones, family members begin to understand each other better, fostering
empathy and reducing conflict.
Resolution and Healing
As communication improves, the process moves toward resolving conflicts and fostering healing.
Family therapy provides a space to address pent-up emotions and unresolved issues. Family
members learn to manage conflicts constructively, while therapists guide them through the process
of forgiveness and letting go. This stage encourages empathy, growth, and the emergence of
stronger bonds
Integration and Maintenance
The final stage is about ensuring lasting change. Therapists help families integrate the skills
they’ve acquired into their daily lives. Families practice effective communication, conflict
resolution, and empathy outside the therapy sessions. Therapists provide guidance on handling
potential setbacks, ensuring the progress made during therapy remains steady.
Forms of family therapy
Some forms of family therapy include
Functional family therapy (FFT)
Therapists most often use this type to help families with children who have behavioral issues. FFT
assesses the family dynamics that have contributed to a child’s problematic behavior, improves
family communication and parenting skills, and supports positive reinforcement.
Marriage counseling/couples therapy
This therapy involves you and your spouse or romantic partner. Licensed Marriage and Family
Therapists (LMFTs) are specifically trained to help couples determine their problems and work on
solutions. Even minor everyday problems and stressors can make their way into relationships.
Some types of issues that can be addressed by relationship counseling includes communication,
differences in culture, mental health, infidelity, sexual intimacy, financial struggles, emotional
distancing, and a general lack of trust, raising children, understanding your or your partner’s
mental health condition and more.
Bowenian family therapy
One of the first comprehensive theories of family therapy was created by Murray Bowen (1971),
who believed that the goal of therapy was self-differentiation.
This form of treatment is suitable for individuals who do not want other family members in the
treatment. It has two foundational principles, triangulation, which is the natural tendency to vent
to a third party, and differentiation, which refers to the ability to separate feelings from logical
thoughts and the feelings of others.
• Triangulation
It is based on the idea that triangles are the basic unit of family systems. For example, if a son
rejects his father’s opinion and his sister accepts it, his father might become closer to this daughter
than his son. This is known as a “dyad”. The individual who strays is known as the “triangulated
individual”. In this case, the son might feel left out of the family and might turn to substance abuse
to cope with his feelings of loss.
• Differentiation
A differentiated person will be able to define themselves and navigate life without leaning on their
family’s perspective. They will also be able to have different opinions and values while remaining
emotionally connected to them.
Bowenian therapy helps the triangulated member of the family resist unhealthy coping
mechanisms while teaching members of dyads to manage closeness and anxiety in healthy ways.
Strategic family therapy
Strategic family therapy is a type of family counseling that looks at patterns of interactions between
family members. In fact, strategic behavioral therapy is solution-based, and is about identifying
solvable problems, setting goals and creating strategies to achieve them. When a therapist provides
family counseling services, they are not particularly concerned with the history and evolution of a
problem within the family unit. Instead, they are more concerned with helping individuals think
strategically and execute solutions to deal with them.
Structural family therapy
Structural family therapy works to understand how individuals within the group interact with
spouses, parents, children, and other family members. This type of therapy looks at the inner
relationships, boundaries and hierarchies within a family unit (its structure). It focuses on direct
interactions among your family members as the primary way to bring about positive change. The
main foundation of structural family therapy is that when guided by a therapist, families will
discover their own alternatives to their problematic patterns of relating to one another. Recognizing
the structure of the unit, the hierarchies, sub-relationships, and boundaries can help to strengthen
the family. Once the structure is established, the therapist can then understand what changes and
types of family counseling services will help restructure the family in a positive way.
Systemic family therapy
Systemic family therapy focuses on belief systems. Family members’ perceptions and socio-
cultural beliefs play an important role in the family dynamic. The wider cultural context can create
change in behavioral patterns. Context also includes religious and political views, and socio-
economic status. A systemic family therapist promotes family level solutions instead of perceiving
something as an individual’s problem. Systemic therapy can be broken down into five parts.
• Deconstructing the problem
• Identifying patterns and feedback loops
• Beliefs and explanations
• Emotions and attachments
• Contextual factors
Narrative Family Therapy
Narrative family therapy assumes that all people are storytellers, each with their own individual
narratives about how things are. Throughout the course of life, personal experiences become
personal stories, and people give meaning to these stories—ultimately, they shape a person’s
identity. Narrative therapy is a type of family counseling services that helps separate the person
from the problem.
Transgenerational Therapy
To understand problems within the family, oftentimes it is important to first study the
transgenerational history of the family. This mechanism works to understand past difficulties,
which in turn allows the therapist and patient to predict future conflict. Transgenerational therapy
involves a therapist examining the reactions between individuals across several generations.
For example, by observing how a child and a parent react to the same incident, the therapist can
pick up on patterns and predict future dysfunction.
In the long term, the therapist can gain a deeper understanding of core issues in the family and put
in place measures to avoid future issues.
Communication Theory
Communication must play a central role in the modern family. This should come as no surprise,
seeing that conflict resolution usually relies heavily upon open communication. This type of
therapy works by strengthening the way in which a family communicates, developing new skills,
strategies, and perspectives that allow them to solve their problems.
Psychoeducation
This approach to family counseling allows those with mental health problems to better understand
their condition. In doing so, the therapist can equip them with tools to mitigate symptoms, control
their behavior, and ultimately function better within the family unit.
Family Therapy Tactics and techniques
Usually, a therapist will use most, if not all of these tactics
Identifying Strengths
In providing family counseling resources and services, a therapist will often look to pinpoint the
strengths of individuals within the group. This strength-based approach not only builds goodwill
and sets a positive tone for the sessions, it ultimately motives family members to address their
most pressing issues. Therapists view the family from multiple lenses (within the family, peers,
school, neighborhood/community) looking for strengths.
To develop treatment goals, it is important for family therapists to establish the strengths of the
family unit and the individuals within it. Therapists work to appraise each family member’s
abilities and use their strengths to accomplish tasks, while simultaneously working to develop
additional strengths needed to attain treatment goals.
Reflective Listening
Reflective listening is a basic clinical tactic used in family counseling that demonstrates the
therapist is registering what an individual is saying. It can be as simple as regurgitating back to an
individual what he or she just said verbatim, but can also just be a reflection of the sentiment to
communicate understanding.
Perspective Taking
Perspective taking is when the therapist will try to view problems from the family member’s
viewpoint. They will work with the family member and ask them to recall a time or incident that
produced negativity. Then the therapist will view the “negative” incident from the person’s point
of view to understand the client’s feelings.
Collecting Data
Collecting data is a basic practice of family counseling in which the therapist records the thoughts
of the family members. It is a way of building evidence in order to refute negative attributions.
The therapist will then put together a list of behaviors that can help spark change.
Once evidence has been established, the therapist can begin working with the family to disconfirm
negative evidence. Opposite action is another strategy often used by family counseling
professionals. First, the therapist records the original behavior and then elicits emotions that are
opposing to that behavior.
Hope and Reinforcement
By the time a family makes their way into family counseling, they have likely already been told
repeatedly by themselves, friends, and even other professionals how bad things have become. It is
critical for the therapist to immediately counter this narrative and work toward a more optimistic
outlook of the family unit. To motivate the family to change, they must feel hopeful and energized.
Reframing
Family members often view each other in a negative light. Reframing is shifting the perspective
between family members, hoping to transform that negativity into positivity.
Generally, it involves two stages. First, the therapist validates the perspectives of the family
members. Once these perspectives have been validated, the therapist can move on to stage two:
alternate perspectives. The therapist will show how benign the issues are by reframing the
perspectives. From there the family members can then start to see the other’s side in a positive
light.
Behavioral techniques
These methods often focus on skills training and psychoeducation to help family members address
specific problems. For example, modeling and role-playing might be used to help family members
resolve communication problems.
• Positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a behavioral psychology technique that encourages good behavior.. A
specific behavior can be targeted (such as getting a child to complete their homework), and a
tangible reward is selected once the behavior is completed (such as allowing extra screen time or
going out for ice cream).
Positive reinforcement is an effective way to increase positive behavior for any member of the
family.
Psychodynamic techniques
These methods involve assessing how each family member interprets and responds to the problems
they are facing. The therapist works with the family to develop new emotional insights and explore
new ways of responding more effectively.
Structural techniques
These methods focus on helping family members with boundaries and power dynamics within the
family. Such techniques can help families create new boundaries and establish routines that
improve how the family functions.
Circular questioning
It is the primary therapeutic technique used in systemic family therapy. Circular questioning
encourages clients to think about connections between family members by introducing other
people’s perceptions and different views of situations
Soft start-ups
Soft start-ups are a method of communicating a need to a partner or loved one that avoids a
defensive reaction. According to The Gottman Institute, soft start-ups involve using “I” versus
“you” and describing how one feels in the situation rather than placing blame.
Saying “I do not feel heard right now,” rather than “you never listen to me,” is a much more
effective way to communicate.
Mindful body language
Body language is a more powerful way to communicate than with words. Therefore, paying
attention to body language can greatly impact how a message is received and interpreted.
Getting clients to pay attention to eye contact, eye rolling, sighing, crossed arms, clenched fists,
and frowning can be an effective way to improve communication. This can be done in a family
therapy session by simply pointing out observed body language and asking clients to practice
changing it.
Family sculpting or role-play
Role-play activities and family sculpting explore family relationships, dynamics, and the meaning
of the trauma. This can help family members understand various perspectives and lead to healthy
healing.
Emotional regulation training
Regulating emotions is not about suppressing them. As mentioned, anger can serve a purpose as a
powerful emotion. Learning to regulate emotions is about training clients to identify and feel the
emotions but not respond irrationally to them.
Mirroring activity
Essentially, family members will pair up and mirror each other. The goal of the game is to emulate
every move the other person is making without touching them.
This helps members become more in tune with the gestures the other person makes and their
emotional reactions. It requires each member to give the other their fullest attention and cooperate
with the other in words and body language.
Family gift
During a therapy session, members of a family are provided with art supplies and a gift bag. They
are then tasked to come up with an idea for a gift that would appeal to the entire family and are
given 30 minutes to make the gift under the guidance of a family therapist.
This activity will allow the therapist to see how each member takes on their part of the work and
how they discuss and make decisions as a family unit. Additionally, it instigates the family
members to think about each other’s preferences, likes and dislikes.
Colored Candy Go Around
This game is best used as an introduction to family therapy. First, you’ll need coloured candy like
M&M’s and Skittles. Give each member of your family seven pieces of candy and allow them to
sort it out by colour. Depending on how many colours each person has, instruct them to respond
to the following prompts
Green – use words to describe the family.
Orange – what are the areas for improvement for the family?
Red – what worries them?
Yellow – describe their favourite memories.
Purple – describe fun activities the family does.
After each answered prompt, the candy can be eaten. This provides the family with answers to
some of the issues they’re facing and allows them to start working on areas of improvement.
Emotion balls
Gather your family in a circle. Begin to toss a beach ball (or one that’s big enough to write more
than one emotion) between yourselves. When one member catches the ball, ask them about a time
when they felt the emotion facing them. If you have many young children present, it might be
better to have the catcher act out a feeling.
The point of the exercise is to discuss your feelings with your family and practice listening to one
another.
Family therapy techniques to reduce anxiety.
There are numerous techniques that can help families and relationships deal with an anxiety
disorder.
Thought record
Family members can create a thought record of negative and anxious thoughts when they come
up. This can be done in a journal or notebook and brought to family therapy sessions. In session,
family members will share their anxious thoughts, and other family members can help the client
come up with thought replacements.
Exposure technique
It involves gradually exposing an individual to something that causes fear or anxiety (Cleveland
Clinic, n.d.).
It might involve identifying something that one member is avoiding due to fear. This might be
anything from a type of animal to social settings.
Family members can create an “exposure hierarchy” with the anxious member. Family members
can work with the individual to move through the hierarchy gradually and provide a safe space of
comfort so that the anxious client can overcome their fear.
Behavioral activation
Behavioral activation is a technique that helps individuals understand and experience how
behavior affects emotions. Behavioral activation activities can be introduced and applied in family
therapy settings to help one or more members with anxiety.
Behavioral activation activities for anxiety can include deep-breathing exercises (such as square
breathing, three-part breathing, or mindful breathing), exercising, scheduling positive activities to
reduce avoidance, and identifying goals and values.
Family members can review the most effective activities and implement them in their daily and
weekly lives.
Feel-good file
Family members will create a manila folder and label it the “Feel-Good File.” It can be decorated
and designed by individuals.
Family members will write down one positive strength for another family member on an index
card. These index cards are compiled into the client’s file so each member eventually has a folder
full of their own strength cards.
Family members can use these folders and refer back to their personal strengths during times of
stress and anxiety.
Who can attend the family therapy?
“Family” means a group of two or more people with close and enduring emotional ties. Using this
definition, each person in treatment for a behavioral health disorder has a unique set of family
members. Therapists don’t decide who should be in family therapy. Instead they ask, “Who is most
important to you?
Sometimes members of a family live together, but sometimes they live apart. Either way, if they
are considered family by the person in treatment, they can be included in family therapy.
What issues can family therapy help fix?
Families attend therapy for several different reasons. Problems that family therapy can help fix
include (but aren’t limited to)
• Strained relationships between family members.
• Stress.
• Anger.
• Communication issues.
• Trauma (physical or emotional).
• Coping with acute or chronic illness of a family member, such as multiple sclerosis, cancer,
stroke, chronic pain or an autoimmune disease.
• The death of a loved one and grief.
• Divorce or romantic relationship issues.
• Coping with sudden changes, such as unemployment, moving or incarceration.
Family therapy can be beneficial if a family member has any of the following mental health
conditions
• Anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
• Eating disorders, such as anorexia.
• Mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder and depression
• Personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder.
• Schizophrenia.
• Substance use disorder.
It can also help childhood behavioral conditions, such as
• Conduct disorder.
• Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD).
• Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).
Families who have neurodivergent members, such as someone with autism spectrum disorder or
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), also often participate in therapy.
When should family therapy start?
Family therapy is typically introduced after the individual in treatment for mental illness or
addiction has made progress in recovery. This could be a few months after treatment starts, or a
year or more later.
Timing is important because people new to recovery have a lot to do. They are working to remain
stable in their new patterns of behavior and ways of thinking. They are just beginning to face the
many changes they must make to stay mentally healthy or to remain sober.
They are learning such things as how to deal with urges to fall into old patterns, how to resist
triggers and cravings, how to adhere to medication regimens, and how to avoid temptations to
rationalize and make excuses. For them to explore family issues at the same time can be too much.
It can potentially contribute to relapse into mental illness or substance-using behaviors. Family
therapy tends to be most helpful once the person in treatment is fully committed to the recovery
process and is ready to make more changes. The person’s counselor can advise on the best time to
start family therapy.
Many professionals specialize in certain types. The choice of therapy type depends on your
family’s particular needs and circumstances. Therapists may combine elements from different
therapeutic approaches to best meet your needs.
Stages of recovery
What are the goals of family therapy?
There are two main goals in family therapy. One goal is to help everyone give the right kind of
support to the family member in behavioral health treatment, so that recovery sticks and relapse is
avoided. The other goal is to strengthen the whole family’s emotional health, so that everyone can
thrive.
Specific objectives for family therapy are unique to each family, and these objectives may change
over time. The family decides for itself what to focus on, and when.
Some objectives of family therapy are
Distrust >>>>> Reconciliation
Guilt >>>>> Forgiveness
Stress >>>>> Strength
Frustration >>>>> Understanding
Despair >>>>> Hope
Sadness >>>>> Support
Anger >>>>> Peace
Conflict >>>>> Agreement
Crisis >>>>> Resolution
Is family therapy the same as family education?
No, family therapy is more than family education. Many behavioral health programs conduct
education sessions for families on such topics as a particular mental illness, drug and alcohol
addiction, treatment, relapse, and recovery. Families can use this information to better understand
what is happening, how it might affect them, and what to do to help the family member in
treatment.
Education is important, but many families also need help applying the information they have
learned. Family therapy provides a safe and neutral space in which everyone learns how to adjust
to life with a member recovering from mental illness or addiction. The therapist helps the family
make changes so that members support each other and treat each other with respect, stop enabling
unhealthy behaviors, and learn to trust each other.
Working with a specially trained therapist, family members take a close look at how they act with
one another. They look at whether they are conducting themselves in ways that are hurtful or
helpful. Family members learn how to modify their behaviors so that they support the needs of the
person in recovery as well as the needs of the whole family, including themselves. They also learn
how to better communicate with each other, and they practice new ways of talking, relating, and
behaving.
Sometimes, a family has problems that have been hidden behind the drama of mental illness or
addiction. These problems rise to the surface once the person with q behavioral health disorder
goes into treatment. The family therapist can help the family talk together to resolve concerns and
mend relationships. The family therapist can refer members of the family to individual counseling
if they need or request it.
Who conducts family therapy sessions?
The leader of a family therapy session may be a licensed family therapist, social worker,
psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, clergy member, or some other type of professional. Whatever
the title, the leader must meet the legal and professional requirements for working in family
therapy. Special training and skills are required, because family therapy is quite different from
one-on-one counseling.
It’s Important that the professional who conducts the sessions be sensitive to the family’s unique
characteristics. This person does not have to have the same background as the family in terms of
culture, race, ethnic group, or any other factor. However, he or she must be respectful and
understanding without being judgmental.
Typically, the family is provided with a 24-hour crisis phone number. If there is a family
emergency between sessions, counseling professionals who staff the crisis line can provide
support.
How is family therapy organized?
Family therapy involves the entire family meeting together. Sometimes part of the family meets.
The family therapist may work one-on-one with a particular family member, in addition to the
family sessions, although this is not typical. Sessions usually last about an hour and take place at
a clinic, at the therapist’s office, or—less often—in a family member’s home. The focus of the
session may be on the person in treatment, on another family member, or on the family as a whole.
Sessions can be low-key or intense, depending on the purpose of the particular session.
Before starting the first session, the therapist may ask family members to sign a contract. This is a
way to show that family members agree to certain behaviors, such as to continue individual
treatment or to not interrupt each other. Family members also may be asked to sign a consent form
to show that they understand the ground rules for privacy and confidentiality. Usually, everyone
including the therapist is expected to respect the privacy of what is said during each session and
not share it with anyone outside the group. There are some exceptions to this rule, which will be
explained on the consent form and by the therapist.
In the session, the family therapist may ask questions or listen and observe while the others talk.
The therapist does this to learn such things as how family members behave and communicate with
each other and what the family’s strengths and needs are. The particular techniques used by the
therapist will depend on the phase of treatment for the member in treatment and the family’s
readiness for change.
The family therapist may refer the whole family or individual members to extra sources of help.
For example, the therapist may encourage family members to go for individual counseling, to join
a mutual-help group, or to take classes on topics such as parenting or anger management.
What happens in a particular session?
There are many things that can happen in family therapy. A session can be devoted to talking about
family concerns and how people are feeling. Family members might use the session to talk about
a particular crisis or problem that needs solving. Or, they might want to focus on the changes that
have been happening.
Another possible topic for a family therapy session is coping skills, such as how to deal with anger,
regret, or sadness. Sometimes just letting out feelings and talking about them in therapy sessions
can bring relief, understanding, and healing.
The focus of a session might be on learning how to communicate more effectively with each other.
For example, the therapist might coach a family member to speak up, to practice saying “no” to
unreasonable demands, or to give a compliment. Family members might be asked to rephrase a
statement in a more positive way. The therapist also might help family members improve their
listening and observing skills to reduce misunderstanding.
Sometimes the therapist asks family members to do homework before the next session. For
example, the therapist might ask family members to watch for nice things that other family
members say during the week. The therapist might ask family members to eat a meal together or
to do something fun together, like play board games or go bowling. The homework is designed to
help family members practice new and healthier ways of behaving with each other.
What if family members are unwilling to take part?
Sometimes family members are unwilling to join family therapy. There are many possible reasons
for this
Fear
They may prefer to have the family unit stay as it is, even if that is painful, rather than take chances
with the unknown.
Fatigue
They may be tired of dealing with the issues.
Concerns about power
They may feel that they have an advantage the way things are—or that they don’t, but family
therapy won’t fix it.
Distrust
They may be unwilling to risk speaking frankly with other family members or in front of a
therapist.
Skepticism
They may not be convinced that family therapy will be useful, or they may have tried it before and
not liked it.
It may help to have the family therapist talk one-on-one with unwilling family members. Together
they can identify the reasons for resistance, figure out how to resolve concerns, and discuss the
benefits of family therapy. Sometimes what’s needed is simply time. Willing members of the
family can choose to get started. Unwilling members can join when they are ready.
How long does family therapy take to work?
How long you and your family will need therapy depends on several factors, including
• Your family’s specific reason for participating in therapy.
• What your goals are.
• If your family members are actively trying to work on the issues your family’s having.
Family therapy can be short term (12 sessions, on average), dealing with immediate issues, or long
term (months or years), dealing with mental health conditions and/or complex issues. Together,
your family and therapist will determine the goals of treatment and arrangements for how often
and how long you’ll meet.
Some families participate in therapy multiple times over the years. Whether for the same issue or
different issues.
Is family therapy effective?
Research suggests that behavioral health treatment that includes family therapy works better than
treatment that does not. For people with mental illness, family therapy in conjunction with
individual treatment can increase medication adherence, reduce rates of relapse and
rehospitalization, reduce psychiatric symptoms, and relieve stress. For people with addiction,
family therapy can help them decide to enter or stay in treatment. It can reduce their risk of
dropping out of treatment. It also can reduce their continued use of alcohol or drugs, discourage
relapse, and promote long-term recovery. Family therapy benefits other family members besides
the person in treatment. By making positive changes in family dynamics, the therapy can reduce
the burden of stress that other family members feel. It can prevent additional family members from
moving into drug or alcohol use. Research also shows that family therapy can improve how couples
treat each other, how children behave, how the whole family gets along, and how the family
connects with its neighbors. Family therapy isn’t always easy. There will be struggles for everyone
involved, but the outcome is worth it. Family therapy is an effective way to help the person in
treatment, while also helping the family as a whole.
What are the risks of family therapy?
Family therapy isn’t for everyone. If one or more members are reluctant to participate during the
sessions, it can increase family conflict. Family therapy is more likely to work if those participating
• Are open and honest with the therapist.
• Are committed to making positive changes.
• Follow their agreed-upon treatment plan.
• Are ready to fully commit to therapy and do homework assignments (if applicable).
Conclusion
All in all, we hope this guide has shed more light on family therapy and how it can benefit you.
Remember, Your problems are valid, no matter how small they might seem to you.
Therapy isn’t reserved for people with “serious” mental issues. It holds innumerable benefits for
everyone and can help you resolve deep-seated issues you never even knew you had.

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family therapy psychotherapy types .pdf

  • 1. Introduction When someone is affected by mental illness or addiction, it can affect the entire family. When that person enters treatment, the family’s pain and confusion don’t just go away. How does any family member move past the damage that has occurred? How does the family as a whole strengthen the ties that hold it together? Family therapy is one answer. It works together with individual therapy for the benefit of all family members. Family therapy is based on the idea that a family is a system of different parts. A change in any part of the system will trigger changes in all the other parts. This means that when one member of a family is affected by a behavioral health disorder such as mental illness or addiction, everyone is affected. As a result, family dynamics can change in unhealthy ways. Lies and secrets can build up in the family. Some family members may take on too much responsibility, other family members may act out, and some may just shut down. Sometimes conditions at home are already unhappy before a family member’s mental illness or addiction emerges. That person’s changing behaviors can throw the family into even greater turmoil. Often a family remains stuck in unhealthy patterns even after the family member with the behavioral health disorder moves into recovery. Even in the best circumstances, families can find it hard to adjust to the person in their midst who is recovering, who is behaving differently than before, and who needs support. Family therapy can help the family as a whole recover and heal. It can help all members of the family make specific, positive changes as the person in recovery changes. These changes can help all family members heal from the trauma of mental illness or addiction. History of Family therapy The origins of family therapy did not emerge until the 1940s and 1950s. Researchers and clinicians challenged the dominant psychoanalytic view of emotional disorders by proposing that these disorders were symptoms of troubled family relationships rather than subconscious issues. Research on psychotherapeutic work with family came from theories rooted in sociology, anthropology, and biology to create an in-depth understanding of the complex family interaction. Some of the early pioneer of the field include Gregory Bateson, Lyman Wynne, Carl Whitaker, Murray Bowen, Salvador Minuchin, and Edgar Auerswald etc. Stages involved in Family therapy Let’s delve into the five stages of family therapy, a transformative process that helps families rebuild bonds, communicate effectively, and find healing. Engagement and Rapport Building
  • 2. The first stage lays the foundation for the therapeutic journey. Therapists establish a safe and welcoming environment, allowing family members to open up about their concerns. Building rapport and trust is crucial for effective therapy. Families in distress find solace in sharing their experiences, while therapists listen attentively to grasp the dynamics at play. Assessment and Understanding During this stage, therapists dive deep into the family’s history, roles, and communication patterns. By understanding the root causes of conflicts, therapists gain insights that guide the therapeutic approach. Family members learn to see beyond surface-level disagreements, recognizing deeper emotional triggers. This understanding paves the way for addressing underlying issues. Restructuring and Communication Enhancement Effective communication is the cornerstone of a healthy family dynamic. In this stage, therapists teach families new ways to communicate and interact. The focus is on active listening, respectful expression, and validation of each member’s feelings. By replacing negative communication patterns with positive ones, family members begin to understand each other better, fostering empathy and reducing conflict. Resolution and Healing As communication improves, the process moves toward resolving conflicts and fostering healing. Family therapy provides a space to address pent-up emotions and unresolved issues. Family members learn to manage conflicts constructively, while therapists guide them through the process of forgiveness and letting go. This stage encourages empathy, growth, and the emergence of stronger bonds Integration and Maintenance The final stage is about ensuring lasting change. Therapists help families integrate the skills they’ve acquired into their daily lives. Families practice effective communication, conflict resolution, and empathy outside the therapy sessions. Therapists provide guidance on handling potential setbacks, ensuring the progress made during therapy remains steady. Forms of family therapy Some forms of family therapy include Functional family therapy (FFT) Therapists most often use this type to help families with children who have behavioral issues. FFT assesses the family dynamics that have contributed to a child’s problematic behavior, improves family communication and parenting skills, and supports positive reinforcement. Marriage counseling/couples therapy
  • 3. This therapy involves you and your spouse or romantic partner. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) are specifically trained to help couples determine their problems and work on solutions. Even minor everyday problems and stressors can make their way into relationships. Some types of issues that can be addressed by relationship counseling includes communication, differences in culture, mental health, infidelity, sexual intimacy, financial struggles, emotional distancing, and a general lack of trust, raising children, understanding your or your partner’s mental health condition and more. Bowenian family therapy One of the first comprehensive theories of family therapy was created by Murray Bowen (1971), who believed that the goal of therapy was self-differentiation. This form of treatment is suitable for individuals who do not want other family members in the treatment. It has two foundational principles, triangulation, which is the natural tendency to vent to a third party, and differentiation, which refers to the ability to separate feelings from logical thoughts and the feelings of others. • Triangulation It is based on the idea that triangles are the basic unit of family systems. For example, if a son rejects his father’s opinion and his sister accepts it, his father might become closer to this daughter than his son. This is known as a “dyad”. The individual who strays is known as the “triangulated individual”. In this case, the son might feel left out of the family and might turn to substance abuse to cope with his feelings of loss. • Differentiation A differentiated person will be able to define themselves and navigate life without leaning on their family’s perspective. They will also be able to have different opinions and values while remaining emotionally connected to them. Bowenian therapy helps the triangulated member of the family resist unhealthy coping mechanisms while teaching members of dyads to manage closeness and anxiety in healthy ways. Strategic family therapy Strategic family therapy is a type of family counseling that looks at patterns of interactions between family members. In fact, strategic behavioral therapy is solution-based, and is about identifying solvable problems, setting goals and creating strategies to achieve them. When a therapist provides family counseling services, they are not particularly concerned with the history and evolution of a problem within the family unit. Instead, they are more concerned with helping individuals think strategically and execute solutions to deal with them. Structural family therapy Structural family therapy works to understand how individuals within the group interact with spouses, parents, children, and other family members. This type of therapy looks at the inner
  • 4. relationships, boundaries and hierarchies within a family unit (its structure). It focuses on direct interactions among your family members as the primary way to bring about positive change. The main foundation of structural family therapy is that when guided by a therapist, families will discover their own alternatives to their problematic patterns of relating to one another. Recognizing the structure of the unit, the hierarchies, sub-relationships, and boundaries can help to strengthen the family. Once the structure is established, the therapist can then understand what changes and types of family counseling services will help restructure the family in a positive way. Systemic family therapy Systemic family therapy focuses on belief systems. Family members’ perceptions and socio- cultural beliefs play an important role in the family dynamic. The wider cultural context can create change in behavioral patterns. Context also includes religious and political views, and socio- economic status. A systemic family therapist promotes family level solutions instead of perceiving something as an individual’s problem. Systemic therapy can be broken down into five parts. • Deconstructing the problem • Identifying patterns and feedback loops • Beliefs and explanations • Emotions and attachments • Contextual factors Narrative Family Therapy Narrative family therapy assumes that all people are storytellers, each with their own individual narratives about how things are. Throughout the course of life, personal experiences become personal stories, and people give meaning to these stories—ultimately, they shape a person’s identity. Narrative therapy is a type of family counseling services that helps separate the person from the problem. Transgenerational Therapy To understand problems within the family, oftentimes it is important to first study the transgenerational history of the family. This mechanism works to understand past difficulties, which in turn allows the therapist and patient to predict future conflict. Transgenerational therapy involves a therapist examining the reactions between individuals across several generations. For example, by observing how a child and a parent react to the same incident, the therapist can pick up on patterns and predict future dysfunction. In the long term, the therapist can gain a deeper understanding of core issues in the family and put in place measures to avoid future issues. Communication Theory
  • 5. Communication must play a central role in the modern family. This should come as no surprise, seeing that conflict resolution usually relies heavily upon open communication. This type of therapy works by strengthening the way in which a family communicates, developing new skills, strategies, and perspectives that allow them to solve their problems. Psychoeducation This approach to family counseling allows those with mental health problems to better understand their condition. In doing so, the therapist can equip them with tools to mitigate symptoms, control their behavior, and ultimately function better within the family unit. Family Therapy Tactics and techniques Usually, a therapist will use most, if not all of these tactics Identifying Strengths In providing family counseling resources and services, a therapist will often look to pinpoint the strengths of individuals within the group. This strength-based approach not only builds goodwill and sets a positive tone for the sessions, it ultimately motives family members to address their most pressing issues. Therapists view the family from multiple lenses (within the family, peers, school, neighborhood/community) looking for strengths. To develop treatment goals, it is important for family therapists to establish the strengths of the family unit and the individuals within it. Therapists work to appraise each family member’s abilities and use their strengths to accomplish tasks, while simultaneously working to develop additional strengths needed to attain treatment goals. Reflective Listening Reflective listening is a basic clinical tactic used in family counseling that demonstrates the therapist is registering what an individual is saying. It can be as simple as regurgitating back to an individual what he or she just said verbatim, but can also just be a reflection of the sentiment to communicate understanding. Perspective Taking Perspective taking is when the therapist will try to view problems from the family member’s viewpoint. They will work with the family member and ask them to recall a time or incident that produced negativity. Then the therapist will view the “negative” incident from the person’s point of view to understand the client’s feelings. Collecting Data Collecting data is a basic practice of family counseling in which the therapist records the thoughts of the family members. It is a way of building evidence in order to refute negative attributions. The therapist will then put together a list of behaviors that can help spark change.
  • 6. Once evidence has been established, the therapist can begin working with the family to disconfirm negative evidence. Opposite action is another strategy often used by family counseling professionals. First, the therapist records the original behavior and then elicits emotions that are opposing to that behavior. Hope and Reinforcement By the time a family makes their way into family counseling, they have likely already been told repeatedly by themselves, friends, and even other professionals how bad things have become. It is critical for the therapist to immediately counter this narrative and work toward a more optimistic outlook of the family unit. To motivate the family to change, they must feel hopeful and energized. Reframing Family members often view each other in a negative light. Reframing is shifting the perspective between family members, hoping to transform that negativity into positivity. Generally, it involves two stages. First, the therapist validates the perspectives of the family members. Once these perspectives have been validated, the therapist can move on to stage two: alternate perspectives. The therapist will show how benign the issues are by reframing the perspectives. From there the family members can then start to see the other’s side in a positive light. Behavioral techniques These methods often focus on skills training and psychoeducation to help family members address specific problems. For example, modeling and role-playing might be used to help family members resolve communication problems. • Positive reinforcement Positive reinforcement is a behavioral psychology technique that encourages good behavior.. A specific behavior can be targeted (such as getting a child to complete their homework), and a tangible reward is selected once the behavior is completed (such as allowing extra screen time or going out for ice cream). Positive reinforcement is an effective way to increase positive behavior for any member of the family. Psychodynamic techniques These methods involve assessing how each family member interprets and responds to the problems they are facing. The therapist works with the family to develop new emotional insights and explore new ways of responding more effectively. Structural techniques
  • 7. These methods focus on helping family members with boundaries and power dynamics within the family. Such techniques can help families create new boundaries and establish routines that improve how the family functions. Circular questioning It is the primary therapeutic technique used in systemic family therapy. Circular questioning encourages clients to think about connections between family members by introducing other people’s perceptions and different views of situations Soft start-ups Soft start-ups are a method of communicating a need to a partner or loved one that avoids a defensive reaction. According to The Gottman Institute, soft start-ups involve using “I” versus “you” and describing how one feels in the situation rather than placing blame. Saying “I do not feel heard right now,” rather than “you never listen to me,” is a much more effective way to communicate. Mindful body language Body language is a more powerful way to communicate than with words. Therefore, paying attention to body language can greatly impact how a message is received and interpreted. Getting clients to pay attention to eye contact, eye rolling, sighing, crossed arms, clenched fists, and frowning can be an effective way to improve communication. This can be done in a family therapy session by simply pointing out observed body language and asking clients to practice changing it. Family sculpting or role-play Role-play activities and family sculpting explore family relationships, dynamics, and the meaning of the trauma. This can help family members understand various perspectives and lead to healthy healing. Emotional regulation training Regulating emotions is not about suppressing them. As mentioned, anger can serve a purpose as a powerful emotion. Learning to regulate emotions is about training clients to identify and feel the emotions but not respond irrationally to them. Mirroring activity Essentially, family members will pair up and mirror each other. The goal of the game is to emulate every move the other person is making without touching them. This helps members become more in tune with the gestures the other person makes and their emotional reactions. It requires each member to give the other their fullest attention and cooperate with the other in words and body language.
  • 8. Family gift During a therapy session, members of a family are provided with art supplies and a gift bag. They are then tasked to come up with an idea for a gift that would appeal to the entire family and are given 30 minutes to make the gift under the guidance of a family therapist. This activity will allow the therapist to see how each member takes on their part of the work and how they discuss and make decisions as a family unit. Additionally, it instigates the family members to think about each other’s preferences, likes and dislikes. Colored Candy Go Around This game is best used as an introduction to family therapy. First, you’ll need coloured candy like M&M’s and Skittles. Give each member of your family seven pieces of candy and allow them to sort it out by colour. Depending on how many colours each person has, instruct them to respond to the following prompts Green – use words to describe the family. Orange – what are the areas for improvement for the family? Red – what worries them? Yellow – describe their favourite memories. Purple – describe fun activities the family does. After each answered prompt, the candy can be eaten. This provides the family with answers to some of the issues they’re facing and allows them to start working on areas of improvement. Emotion balls Gather your family in a circle. Begin to toss a beach ball (or one that’s big enough to write more than one emotion) between yourselves. When one member catches the ball, ask them about a time when they felt the emotion facing them. If you have many young children present, it might be better to have the catcher act out a feeling. The point of the exercise is to discuss your feelings with your family and practice listening to one another. Family therapy techniques to reduce anxiety. There are numerous techniques that can help families and relationships deal with an anxiety disorder. Thought record Family members can create a thought record of negative and anxious thoughts when they come up. This can be done in a journal or notebook and brought to family therapy sessions. In session,
  • 9. family members will share their anxious thoughts, and other family members can help the client come up with thought replacements. Exposure technique It involves gradually exposing an individual to something that causes fear or anxiety (Cleveland Clinic, n.d.). It might involve identifying something that one member is avoiding due to fear. This might be anything from a type of animal to social settings. Family members can create an “exposure hierarchy” with the anxious member. Family members can work with the individual to move through the hierarchy gradually and provide a safe space of comfort so that the anxious client can overcome their fear. Behavioral activation Behavioral activation is a technique that helps individuals understand and experience how behavior affects emotions. Behavioral activation activities can be introduced and applied in family therapy settings to help one or more members with anxiety. Behavioral activation activities for anxiety can include deep-breathing exercises (such as square breathing, three-part breathing, or mindful breathing), exercising, scheduling positive activities to reduce avoidance, and identifying goals and values. Family members can review the most effective activities and implement them in their daily and weekly lives. Feel-good file Family members will create a manila folder and label it the “Feel-Good File.” It can be decorated and designed by individuals. Family members will write down one positive strength for another family member on an index card. These index cards are compiled into the client’s file so each member eventually has a folder full of their own strength cards. Family members can use these folders and refer back to their personal strengths during times of stress and anxiety. Who can attend the family therapy? “Family” means a group of two or more people with close and enduring emotional ties. Using this definition, each person in treatment for a behavioral health disorder has a unique set of family members. Therapists don’t decide who should be in family therapy. Instead they ask, “Who is most important to you? Sometimes members of a family live together, but sometimes they live apart. Either way, if they are considered family by the person in treatment, they can be included in family therapy.
  • 10. What issues can family therapy help fix? Families attend therapy for several different reasons. Problems that family therapy can help fix include (but aren’t limited to) • Strained relationships between family members. • Stress. • Anger. • Communication issues. • Trauma (physical or emotional). • Coping with acute or chronic illness of a family member, such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, stroke, chronic pain or an autoimmune disease. • The death of a loved one and grief. • Divorce or romantic relationship issues. • Coping with sudden changes, such as unemployment, moving or incarceration. Family therapy can be beneficial if a family member has any of the following mental health conditions • Anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). • Eating disorders, such as anorexia. • Mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder and depression • Personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder. • Schizophrenia. • Substance use disorder. It can also help childhood behavioral conditions, such as • Conduct disorder. • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD). • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Families who have neurodivergent members, such as someone with autism spectrum disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), also often participate in therapy. When should family therapy start? Family therapy is typically introduced after the individual in treatment for mental illness or addiction has made progress in recovery. This could be a few months after treatment starts, or a year or more later. Timing is important because people new to recovery have a lot to do. They are working to remain stable in their new patterns of behavior and ways of thinking. They are just beginning to face the many changes they must make to stay mentally healthy or to remain sober.
  • 11. They are learning such things as how to deal with urges to fall into old patterns, how to resist triggers and cravings, how to adhere to medication regimens, and how to avoid temptations to rationalize and make excuses. For them to explore family issues at the same time can be too much. It can potentially contribute to relapse into mental illness or substance-using behaviors. Family therapy tends to be most helpful once the person in treatment is fully committed to the recovery process and is ready to make more changes. The person’s counselor can advise on the best time to start family therapy. Many professionals specialize in certain types. The choice of therapy type depends on your family’s particular needs and circumstances. Therapists may combine elements from different therapeutic approaches to best meet your needs. Stages of recovery What are the goals of family therapy? There are two main goals in family therapy. One goal is to help everyone give the right kind of support to the family member in behavioral health treatment, so that recovery sticks and relapse is avoided. The other goal is to strengthen the whole family’s emotional health, so that everyone can thrive. Specific objectives for family therapy are unique to each family, and these objectives may change over time. The family decides for itself what to focus on, and when. Some objectives of family therapy are
  • 12. Distrust >>>>> Reconciliation Guilt >>>>> Forgiveness Stress >>>>> Strength Frustration >>>>> Understanding Despair >>>>> Hope Sadness >>>>> Support Anger >>>>> Peace Conflict >>>>> Agreement Crisis >>>>> Resolution Is family therapy the same as family education? No, family therapy is more than family education. Many behavioral health programs conduct education sessions for families on such topics as a particular mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, treatment, relapse, and recovery. Families can use this information to better understand what is happening, how it might affect them, and what to do to help the family member in treatment. Education is important, but many families also need help applying the information they have learned. Family therapy provides a safe and neutral space in which everyone learns how to adjust to life with a member recovering from mental illness or addiction. The therapist helps the family make changes so that members support each other and treat each other with respect, stop enabling unhealthy behaviors, and learn to trust each other. Working with a specially trained therapist, family members take a close look at how they act with one another. They look at whether they are conducting themselves in ways that are hurtful or helpful. Family members learn how to modify their behaviors so that they support the needs of the person in recovery as well as the needs of the whole family, including themselves. They also learn how to better communicate with each other, and they practice new ways of talking, relating, and behaving. Sometimes, a family has problems that have been hidden behind the drama of mental illness or addiction. These problems rise to the surface once the person with q behavioral health disorder goes into treatment. The family therapist can help the family talk together to resolve concerns and mend relationships. The family therapist can refer members of the family to individual counseling if they need or request it. Who conducts family therapy sessions? The leader of a family therapy session may be a licensed family therapist, social worker, psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, clergy member, or some other type of professional. Whatever the title, the leader must meet the legal and professional requirements for working in family
  • 13. therapy. Special training and skills are required, because family therapy is quite different from one-on-one counseling. It’s Important that the professional who conducts the sessions be sensitive to the family’s unique characteristics. This person does not have to have the same background as the family in terms of culture, race, ethnic group, or any other factor. However, he or she must be respectful and understanding without being judgmental. Typically, the family is provided with a 24-hour crisis phone number. If there is a family emergency between sessions, counseling professionals who staff the crisis line can provide support. How is family therapy organized? Family therapy involves the entire family meeting together. Sometimes part of the family meets. The family therapist may work one-on-one with a particular family member, in addition to the family sessions, although this is not typical. Sessions usually last about an hour and take place at a clinic, at the therapist’s office, or—less often—in a family member’s home. The focus of the session may be on the person in treatment, on another family member, or on the family as a whole. Sessions can be low-key or intense, depending on the purpose of the particular session. Before starting the first session, the therapist may ask family members to sign a contract. This is a way to show that family members agree to certain behaviors, such as to continue individual treatment or to not interrupt each other. Family members also may be asked to sign a consent form to show that they understand the ground rules for privacy and confidentiality. Usually, everyone including the therapist is expected to respect the privacy of what is said during each session and not share it with anyone outside the group. There are some exceptions to this rule, which will be explained on the consent form and by the therapist. In the session, the family therapist may ask questions or listen and observe while the others talk. The therapist does this to learn such things as how family members behave and communicate with each other and what the family’s strengths and needs are. The particular techniques used by the therapist will depend on the phase of treatment for the member in treatment and the family’s readiness for change. The family therapist may refer the whole family or individual members to extra sources of help. For example, the therapist may encourage family members to go for individual counseling, to join a mutual-help group, or to take classes on topics such as parenting or anger management. What happens in a particular session? There are many things that can happen in family therapy. A session can be devoted to talking about family concerns and how people are feeling. Family members might use the session to talk about a particular crisis or problem that needs solving. Or, they might want to focus on the changes that have been happening.
  • 14. Another possible topic for a family therapy session is coping skills, such as how to deal with anger, regret, or sadness. Sometimes just letting out feelings and talking about them in therapy sessions can bring relief, understanding, and healing. The focus of a session might be on learning how to communicate more effectively with each other. For example, the therapist might coach a family member to speak up, to practice saying “no” to unreasonable demands, or to give a compliment. Family members might be asked to rephrase a statement in a more positive way. The therapist also might help family members improve their listening and observing skills to reduce misunderstanding. Sometimes the therapist asks family members to do homework before the next session. For example, the therapist might ask family members to watch for nice things that other family members say during the week. The therapist might ask family members to eat a meal together or to do something fun together, like play board games or go bowling. The homework is designed to help family members practice new and healthier ways of behaving with each other. What if family members are unwilling to take part? Sometimes family members are unwilling to join family therapy. There are many possible reasons for this Fear They may prefer to have the family unit stay as it is, even if that is painful, rather than take chances with the unknown. Fatigue They may be tired of dealing with the issues. Concerns about power They may feel that they have an advantage the way things are—or that they don’t, but family therapy won’t fix it. Distrust They may be unwilling to risk speaking frankly with other family members or in front of a therapist. Skepticism They may not be convinced that family therapy will be useful, or they may have tried it before and not liked it. It may help to have the family therapist talk one-on-one with unwilling family members. Together they can identify the reasons for resistance, figure out how to resolve concerns, and discuss the benefits of family therapy. Sometimes what’s needed is simply time. Willing members of the family can choose to get started. Unwilling members can join when they are ready.
  • 15. How long does family therapy take to work? How long you and your family will need therapy depends on several factors, including • Your family’s specific reason for participating in therapy. • What your goals are. • If your family members are actively trying to work on the issues your family’s having. Family therapy can be short term (12 sessions, on average), dealing with immediate issues, or long term (months or years), dealing with mental health conditions and/or complex issues. Together, your family and therapist will determine the goals of treatment and arrangements for how often and how long you’ll meet. Some families participate in therapy multiple times over the years. Whether for the same issue or different issues. Is family therapy effective? Research suggests that behavioral health treatment that includes family therapy works better than treatment that does not. For people with mental illness, family therapy in conjunction with individual treatment can increase medication adherence, reduce rates of relapse and rehospitalization, reduce psychiatric symptoms, and relieve stress. For people with addiction, family therapy can help them decide to enter or stay in treatment. It can reduce their risk of dropping out of treatment. It also can reduce their continued use of alcohol or drugs, discourage relapse, and promote long-term recovery. Family therapy benefits other family members besides the person in treatment. By making positive changes in family dynamics, the therapy can reduce the burden of stress that other family members feel. It can prevent additional family members from moving into drug or alcohol use. Research also shows that family therapy can improve how couples treat each other, how children behave, how the whole family gets along, and how the family connects with its neighbors. Family therapy isn’t always easy. There will be struggles for everyone involved, but the outcome is worth it. Family therapy is an effective way to help the person in treatment, while also helping the family as a whole. What are the risks of family therapy? Family therapy isn’t for everyone. If one or more members are reluctant to participate during the sessions, it can increase family conflict. Family therapy is more likely to work if those participating • Are open and honest with the therapist. • Are committed to making positive changes. • Follow their agreed-upon treatment plan. • Are ready to fully commit to therapy and do homework assignments (if applicable). Conclusion
  • 16. All in all, we hope this guide has shed more light on family therapy and how it can benefit you. Remember, Your problems are valid, no matter how small they might seem to you. Therapy isn’t reserved for people with “serious” mental issues. It holds innumerable benefits for everyone and can help you resolve deep-seated issues you never even knew you had.