Family therapy focuses on interpersonal conflict within members of the family unit. The goal of family therapy is not to target one specific member of the family. Effective treatment focuses on the overarching concerns of the family unit while considering the individual needs of each participant. Family therapy may overlap with other types of therapy.
For instance, if a member of the family is suffering from an addiction, it may be appropriate for the addicted member to attend individual therapy AND family therapy to address the impact of the addiction on the family while strengthening the support network all around. Family therapy also provides services to clients who may be trying to adapt to other medical or mental health diagnosis (cancer, terminal illnesses, autism, schizophrenia, etc.).
Therapy services help clients examine each section of the perspective triangle to gain a well-rounded view of the conflict and possible solutions.
Who makes up a “family”?
A family does not mean that everyone is biologically related, but rather it focuses on improving the relationships of a group of people who would like to function as a cohesive unit. This type of therapy includes treatment for blended families (parents, stepparents, stepchildren), roommates or a group of friends who may be experiencing conflict, and/or business partners/coworkers.
Will each member of the family get a chance to talk to the therapist one on one?
When opting for family therapy, each person needs to know that the “family unit” is the client. However, there may be occasions when it is appropriate for the therapist to meet with members individually. These individual sessions will occur on a case by case basis and will be thoroughly discussed with the family.
Does each member need to be present at every session?
It would be ideal for each member to attend the sessions, but therapists understand that scheduling conflicts and other obligations will occur. The therapist will collaborate with the clients on a plan that allows therapeutic progress to occur while working with the client’s schedules.