Family therapy treats all members of the family rather than working with one person alone. It helps the whole family understand each other better and make changes. Often mental health problems are hard to change without support from the family. Many problems improve a great deal when the family changes how they deal with each other.
Family therapy can help with:
Each family has certain behaviors and rules that they use with each other. The family members may not think about these habits, but they keep acting on them. The family therapist first helps the family understand patterns of what they say and do and how it affects other family members. Then the therapist helps them to change patterns that may be causing problems.
The therapist will start by observing the family. For each session the therapist will ask to see all or some of the family members. At times the therapist may ask to just see the parents or just the children. Who is asked to attend may change based on what the issues are and who is most involved with them. With children younger than 11 or 12, the therapist may divide sessions into individual time with children and time with parents.
Family therapy is a very active type of therapy. The therapist may ask family members to role play how they talk about things or how they behave at home. The therapist will help the family understand the way they talk and act with each other. The family learns which behaviors are healthy. The family may practice new behaviors in the therapy session, and be assigned homework to practice between sessions.
Sometimes family therapy is used along with other treatment. For example, if one family member is being treated for drug abuse, family therapy may help everyone. In family therapy, you can learn how to best help the drug abuser, and learn how to help each other deal with stress.
Ask questions and get referrals from people you know and trust. You could also check with: