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What can a family therapist help with?

Therapy can help improve the complex and delicate dynamics inherent in being a family, including communication, conflict, familial roles, and mental illness. This may involve specific relationships such as that of a parent and child or two siblings. Therapy may also address disorders such as anxiety, depression, alcohol and substance use disorders, eating disorders, and conduct disorders to help the family treat and cope with the challenge together.

When does a family need to seek therapy?

Family therapy may be warranted if a family consistently struggles with conflict or communication to a detrimental degree. Family therapy can also be beneficial in the case of stark emotional or behavioral changes, such as a family member becoming aggressive, withdrawing, or struggling to cope after a traumatic event. Additionally, some disorders, such as addiction or eating disorders, may be best treated in the context of the family unit.

What are the goals of family therapy?

Overall, the goal of family therapy is to change how the family functions to improve family members’ mental health and well-being. Specific objectives are different for each family. Common goals include reducing conflict and developing healthy communication, coping with a disruption like a natural disaster or death, or addressing a mental health condition like addiction.

What kind of therapy types are used for families?

Family therapy can take different forms, including family systems therapy (exploring how individual actions affect the family), structural family therapy (uncovering the structure and relationship dynamics of the unit), strategic family therapy (developing problem-solving skills), narrative family therapy (sharing and reframing individual stories), and psychoeducation (learning how to manage a family member’s mental illness).