A Complete Guide to Family Therapy

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If your family is going through rough times, whether from anger, stress, or grief, family therapy can make a difference. Such therapy is an evidence-based well-established approach along with other psychotherapeutic modalities.

However, the availability of this form of therapy differs from country to country. While in some countries, therapy has a strong position and plays a crucial role in both private practices and public health care, in other countries, therapists are struggling for recognition.

Family psychological services can help children, couples, or members of an extended family to communicate better with each other and handle conflicts. Sessions are led by a professional called a therapist. She/he should be a social worker, psychologist or therapist, who has had additional training in this specific therapy.

Family Therapy – Benefits of Therapy

Problems in the household can impact all areas of the lives of members. Members may notice trouble cropping at school, work or in everyday interactions with other people.

When a person finds that issues of the household are too tough to handle and things are getting no better, time is ripe for consulting a therapist. She can help you find new ways to manage challenges, conflicts, and struggles.

Some of the issues for which a therapist can help are:

  • Addiction or substance abuse
  • Health problems – mostly chronic physical illness
  • Mental health of children and adolescents
  • Psychosomatic problems
  • Adult mental health problems
  • Marital problems
  • Separation and divorce
  • Psychosexual difficulties
  • Adoption, foster care, and other issues
  • Promotion of parental skills and functioning of family
  • Issues involving lifecycle of family and transitional stages of life
  • Work-related problems
  • School-related problems
  • Traumatic experiences, bereavement, and loss
  • Disruption of household life due to religious, social, and political conflicts
  • Financial problems or disagreements about money
  • Difficulties between siblings
  • Caring for a member with special needs.
  • Issues with extended  members
  • Infidelity
  • Planning for shared custody of children

The Process of Family Therapy

At first, the therapist will talk to everyone in the household to get to know what is going on. She will ask questions about how each member views the household problems, the origin of the issues, and how the household has been attempting to manage the issues till now.

Next, the therapist will work on a treatment plan. The objective is to resolve issues in a friendly way, without putting the blame on any member of the household.

The therapist will help members communicate better with each other, solve problems and find new ways to work together. It must be noted that therapy cannot make problems disappear, but it can give members new skills to deal with tough situations in healthy ways.

Family psychological services do not take much time. One session lasts about 60 to 90 minutes. Intervals between sessions take anywhere from one to several weeks based on presented problems, needs of members, stage of treatment, and other variables. Decisions on these matters are negotiated in collaboration with clients and other related professionals. Though hard to estimate and with much difference, the average length of therapy treatment ranges between 6 to 20 sessions.

Family Therapy – How to Find a Therapist?

A good therapist can be found by research and using the following strategies:

  • Ask for a referral from the primary care doctor.
  • Search by word of mouth from friends and associates if they know about a good professional.
  • Get in touch with one’s health insurance company and request for a list of therapists.  A list may be found even online.
  • Check professional websites and search for a therapist near one’s location.
  • Search the internet for a well-recommended therapist in one’s area.

How to Judge?

To judge whether a therapist is good for you, pose the following questions:

  • Is she trained in this specific therapy?
  • Does she have specific experience in handling the particular problems faced by the household?
  • Where her office is and what are her hours for the consultation?
  • What is the length of each session?
  • How many sessions may be needed?
  • How is the insurance procedure handled?

These are all top facts about family therapy.