How & Why of Family Therapy
Every individual has a desire to feel and stay connected with his/her family. Family gives a sense of security, and safety to everyone. Healthy relationship with family plays a crucial role in one’s mental health. Every family goes through disagreements and difficult times. Most of the situations in families are interlinked for eg. Conflict between two family members, will have an impact on rest of the family members. With changing times and urbanization, new set of difficulties are faced by families these day and members find it difficult to cope and adjust with each other. Family Therapy has become the need of the hour in the last few years.
when to use family therapy
In some cases, when clients come for therapy, most of their concerns revolve around their relationship with their family members. When it becomes difficult for families to resolve conflicts and problems or when the dysfunctional behavior patterns become repetitive or when there is a confusion in decision making process among family members, then a Family Therapist is approached, for family therapy. Family Therapy is done when there is a stressful life event like divorce, separation, financial problem, loss of a loved one, mental disorder, adjustment problem with adolescent, chronic physical disease, interpersonal conflict, Job transfer of one person to another state or country, Job loss, adjustment problems among family members etc.
Family becomes an essential part of the treatment as there is inter-dependence of family members on each other.
how family therapy helps
Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy where the management involves understanding processes in family system and dealing with complex patterns in family. Family therapy includes family members in a nuclear family and at times members of extended family.
The focus of family therapist is mainly on the process of what is happening between family members.
Family Therapy helps family members and/or individual within that family system to improve communication pattern, conflict resolution, problem solving approach and develop healthy boundaries. Family therapy facilitates in reducing conflicts and increasing cohesion and understanding among family members. Family therapy helps in improving quality of life and functioning of family as a whole.
who conducts family therapy
Family therapy is undertaken by a psychotherapist/clinical psychologist who is trained and experienced in handling family intervention. In family therapy multiple sessions are conducted for approximately one hour in each session (for eg.once a week) over a period of few months. The frequency and duration of sessions also depends on the kind of problem addressed by the family. In most of the cases, when a family approaches a family therapist, they come with a specific problem (for eg., an adolescent with examination anxiety or adult having adjustment problem in new family after marriage) gradually, as the sessions are undertaken, additional set of problems also become visible to the therapist for eg. respect, communication patterns.
what is the process
The Family therapist meets each member separately and listens to the concerns of each member and then plans the goals of the therapy. The therapist talks about common sources of stress, disagreements and conflicts from each family member. Family members are psycho-educated regarding impact of their behavior on other family members. In family therapy the problem is seen in the context of family rather than looking at the situation just from one person’s perspective. So every family member’s perspective is important and they are assisted to understand, empathize, accommodate and adjust with the other member’s difficulties and agony. The family is assisted to identify the source of problem and find constructive and healthy strategies for problem solution.
In Family Therapy each person’s roles, emotional and behavior patterns are explored that contribute to problem situation and conflicts. Everyone is encouraged to share his/ her thoughts and feelings openly and without hesitation. The therapy also aids family members to express their ideas, thoughts and feels to each other with respect. The family members are also sensitized about the each others perspective.The Family Therapist doesn’t judge any family member for his/her views, opinion, perspective about situation or another person. The information shared with the therapist remains confidential.
Family therapy goals revolve around following:
- Learning to maintain healthy boundaries with respect
- Understanding space of other family members
- Building healthy ways of communication
- Learning conflict resolution skills
- Improving problem solving ability of each member
- Reducing conflict and facilitating cohesion among family members.
The effectiveness of family therapy majorly depends on the honesty and commitment of each individual member in the family therapy process and the skills and techniques used by the therapist. It assists family members to improve their coping in challenging situations.
Family is root of every individual and once each individual in the family starts perceiving the connectedness and bond, the relationship becomes more strengthened and the existence becomes more secure and safe.