The Basics of Family Therapy

child-therapist
Terrini M. Woods

Terrini M. Woods

Is a lay counselor with over 20 years counseling residents of South Florida. She has a master’s degree in therapy for persons with chronic mental health issues.

Our lives start with a family- be it blood relatives, adopted parents, foster family or even close-knit
neighborhood and that family influences every aspect of our lives, from beginning to end. Almost
everything we know is a by-product of the family we belong to. Someone who is born from a healthy
family with healthy relationships is more likely to learn how to maintain healthy relationships while
someone who is born from a dysfunctional family that struggles to connect to others will find it hard to
connect to others as well. While we can never choose the family we are born into, Family therapy can
certainly help in developing or maintaining a healthy and functional family. Here are some of the basic
things you need to know about Family Therapy.

What is Family Therapy?

By definition, Family therapy is a type psychotherapy involving all members of a nuclear family and it is
designed to address the issues that affects the health and function of a family. It involves techniques
and exercises depending on the specific problems the clients present the therapist. The main goal of a
family therapy is to solve family problems, improve communications and create a better functioning
home environment. It is generally conducted by a therapist of team of trained and experienced
individual using therapy techniques.

Types of Family Therapy

1.Strategic Family Therapy – This is a direct and brief form of therapy wherein the therapist assigns
homework to the family with the goal to change how the family members interacts with one another in
terms of communication and decision making.

 

2. Systemic Family Therapy – The focus of systemic therapy is the unconscious communications and the
meaning of every family member’s behaviors. In this form of therapy, the therapist is distant and neutral
on purpose to allow the family members to dive deeper into their issues as a family.

 

3. Bowenian Family Therapy – If a family member cannot or do not want to be involved in the treatment,
then Bowenian family therapy is used. This form of therapy is built on two core concepts: differentiation
(learning to become less emotionally reactive in family relationships) and triangulation (the natural
tendency to distress or vent by talking to a third party)

 

4. Structural Family Therapy – The focus of this form of therapy is to adjust and strengthen the family
system to ensure that the parents are still in control and that both children and adults set appropriate
boundaries. The therapist joins the family to observe, learn, and enhance their ability to help the family
strengthen their relationships.

 

The Goal of Family Therapy
In a nutshell, the goal of family therapy is to mend any emotional, mental or psychological problems
that is tearing the family apart. Its aim is to improve communication, solve family problems and

understanding how to handle them while guiding the family toward a healthy life. The focus of family
therapy is to ensure that all family members have the right tools they need to facilitate healing.

 

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