As in other therapeutic endeavors, there are different schools of family therapy, each with their own unique areas of focus. Differences in theoretical approaches lead to a diverse range of therapeutic strategies. All of these approaches are designed to bring greater satisfaction within a family.
Therapy for the Whole Family
All of the schools have one element in common; that is the focus of treatment is with the family as a whole. It de-emphasizes psychological difficulties or personality styles of any one family member. The premise is that changes come from viewing the family as a whole. By understanding the rules of how the family works and the personality differences in the members, addressing areas of conflict become clearer. Conflicts usually involve such issues as control, power, authority and such.
The goal of family therapy is to help family members improve their skills in communication and their ability to resolve conflicts. The treatment may be short term, mostly in reaction to some major life cycle event within the family or the family therapy can extend to longer periods, giving the participants greater opportunities to acquire necessary skills of communication and conflict resolution.
Families go through predictable life cycles. These life cycles , conflicts and changes within the family can come about when there is a new baby born, when children go through different developmental stages, when there is a particular trauma that occurs to one or more family members and when there is a death of a family member.
There is often some variation in family therapy from week to week. On some occasions, focus may be on the parents. One week both parents may come to a session. On other occasions, a child only session can occur. There are no hard and fast rules to these decisions, but they are determined by the therapists’ intuition and the directions of growth the family seems to be taking.
The counselor or family therapist is trained to focus on the dynamics of the family and understanding how they interact together to resolve difficult situations. Issues of the individual rules and traditions of the family, the hierarchy and structure of the family, the roles of different family members and the communication styles are all important information which effect change in the way the family functions. The goal, of course, is the reduction of conflict in the family and the mobilization of each individual’s assets to promote greater synchrony and facilitation amongst family members.
Please contact us for more information on family therapy and counseling.