What is Family Therapy?
Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on the interpersonal dynamics between members of a family system. The family system is one of the most sacred and protective attachment systems we have; to have those bonds threatened can be quite destabilizing for individuals. Family therapy supports members in communicating and understanding the conflict, past hurts, concerns, and longings between individuals in the family system. The therapist will help the family identify what cycles of interaction they are getting stuck in and utilize the family’s strengths to co-create a new way of connecting with one another. Family therapy is not an “intervention;” it does not focus on one family member and try to change or fix a family member’s behaviors. Rather, family therapy looks at the tension from a relational lens and explores each member’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors within the context of the family system.
Who Participates in Family Therapy?
Family therapy can involve some or all members of a conflict or hardship in a family. The treatment can include but is not limited to some or all members of the nuclear family, members of the extended family, blended families, and/or individuals who are part of the family system who are not related biologically or legally. The therapist can support you in deciding who to involve in treatment upon hearing the point of tension the family is struggling with.
What Are the Benefits of Family Therapy?
Every family experiences hardships, conflict, and struggle. However when the tension and stress are impacting the way in which family members relate or connect to one another, then family therapy can be a useful tool to support the system.
Family therapy at TMP can support families with problems including but not limited to:
- communicating through points of difference and conflict
- mental health diagnoses
- gender and LGBTQIA+ topics
- school difficulties
- child/adolescent behaviors
- marital issues
- grief and loss
- intergenerational patterns or legacy issues
A family therapist will work to provide a space for family members to approach each other with curiosity and respond to one another empathetically, thus creating the space to form new ways of connecting. The goal of therapy is often identified by the family members and therapist within the first few sessions. However, generally speaking family therapy often seeks to deepen individuals’ understanding and connection to one another.
What Does a Family Therapy Session Look Like?
Each session depends on what the family needs at the time of session and may differ each week. Typically, the family therapist works to hear each member’s perspective of the problem and supports family members in communicating and understanding their wants and needs to one another. At the beginning of treatment, the therapist will explore what each member hopes to get out of the time together and will work with the family to co-create goals for the therapy. Family therapy sessions at The Midtown Practice are 60 minutes long and can be facilitated in person or virtually.