Family Therapy: Improve Your Family Relationships
Our family members, and the relationships we have with them, have a profound impact on our lives. We both celebrate our victories and mourn our losses with our family members. We share our most beloved memories with these individuals as well as memories we’d rather forget.
In a nutshell, family is there through the good and the bad. And when things get bad, we can benefit from working with a family therapist.
What Is Family Counseling?
Family counseling is a form of psychotherapy that helps families improve communication, resolve conflicts, and better their overall relationships.
Family therapy is led by mental health professionals, such as psychologists or Licensed Clinical Social Workers who have training in family therapy, like Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists. Some family therapists are even credentialed by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).
This is often a short-term form of therapy, with most families attending around 12 sessions. However, it can be more long-term too.
These therapy sessions typically involve all of the family members involved, but certain individuals may also work with the family therapist in one-on-one sessions, too. The exact layout of a family’s treatment plan will depend on their family’s needs.
However, many families who receive family counseling have common goals, which we touched on earlier. These include:
- Improving communication: A major problem in many relationships (not just those with our family members) is poor communication. A family therapist can help families improve their means of communication, which can help to prevent and resolve problems.
- Resolving conflicts: Conflicts naturally arise with family members. This is normal, but we must resolve these conflicts effectively so that they don’t affect the health of these relationships. Family therapists can help families accomplish this.
- Building stronger relationships: The ultimate goal of family counseling is to build stronger relationships. Improving communication and resolving conflicts will help to fulfill this goal. And so will working on other areas of familial relationships with a family counselor.
Improving your relationships with your loved ones will help you improve other areas of your life, too. Happy, fulfilled relationships support healthy wellbeing.
Common Family Issues: Who Should Pursue Family Therapy?
Family therapists see a diverse clientele. They can help big families, small families, blended families, and any other kind of family that you can imagine.
There are common challenges that bring families into therapy, which include marital and family problems like:
- Poor communication
- Grief and loss
- Difficulty resolving conflict
- Roles and boundaries
- Behavioral problems in children
- Significant stress
- Disagreements in parenting
- Substance abuse and mental illness
These problems do not represent every single problem experienced by families, but they are some of the most widespread. The longer these challenges go on, the more damaging they can become.
Fortunately, family counselors can guide productive conversations about the problem(s) and help you work through them.
Types of Family Counseling
Family therapists can utilize different approaches to family counseling, which will again depend on your family’s needs. Here are some of the most common and the most effective:
- Family systems therapy: Family systems therapy focuses on helping family members resolve problems that occur in the family unit. Family members work together to understand the family dynamic as well as how each individual contributes to or affects that dynamic.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is another effective approach to family therapy. This focuses on changing unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. which can have a direct effect on the health of one’s relationships.
- Supportive family therapy: Supportive family therapy helps families express their feelings and have open conversations about problems in the family unit. This relies on safe, supportive relationships between family members, each other, and their counselor.
There are other forms of therapy that may be incorporated into family therapy, like psychodynamic therapy and couples therapy.
If you and your family decide to pursue family counseling, your family therapist will first get to know your family. Then, they can design a treatment plan with your specific needs in mind.
Online Family Counseling
There are families who are interested in attending family therapy but certain challenges stand in their way, like finding a day and time that works for every family member. Fortunately, online family therapy solves this problem.
Virtual family counseling improves access to this service. Video sessions make attending therapy together easier and more comfortable. Family members can attend the session from their own computers, which allows those who live farther away to participate.
This an effective option for any and all families. It provides greater convenience and comfort for families. If this appeals to you, consider scheduling virtual family therapy instead of traditional in-person therapy.