What is family therapy?
Family therapy incorporates two or more family members in treatment with the goal to improve communication and resolve present conflicts. Family therapy sees the family in a holistic way, as part of a system, rather than just focusing on individual needs. Family therapy can look different depending on who is involved in treatment, and will focus on the dynamics within these relationships.
How can family therapy help?
Family therapy aims to promote satisfaction among each individual in the dynamic, as well as more harmony in the overall family unit. Family therapy can bring each member of the family greater understanding of one another, improve communication styles amongst family members, and decrease levels of conflict and tension within the dynamics.
What to expect in family therapy?
Therapy will look different for every family. First, you will discuss with your therapist the goals you have for your treatment, and collaborate on creating mutual goals within the family unit. Family therapy may involve the same family members each session, or may focus on different family dynamics/units week to week (example: one week is the whole family, the next week is just the parents, following week just the children, another week the parents and one child, etc.). This will be discussed with your therapist at the beginning of treatment. In family therapy, you can generally expect to be communicating vulnerably with your family members with the support and guidance of your therapist. You will learn communication skills, as well as gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your family members.
How long are sessions, how often should we go, and how long does family therapy last?
Typically, family sessions are 50-60 minutes, but it can be discussed with your therapist to extend sessions to 80 minutes. The frequency of sessions is important to collaborate with your therapist to ensure you are able to create progress, and it is often recommended to begin weekly. How long treatment will last depends on the therapist’s modality, the dynamics within the family, and the goals for treatment. It is likely you will be in treatment for at least 2 months, but the timeframe will truly depend on your family and your goals.
How do I know if my therapist is a good fit?
In family therapy, each member of the family should feel equally heard and understood by the therapist. It is important no family member feels left out or ostracized in treatment. You will know the therapist is a good fit if each family member feels supported by the therapist and your therapist focuses on your goals for treatment.