Your family can be your greatest source of support, comfort and love. The number one need we all have is the need for acceptance and belonging. Having those needs met by your family is the most powerful feeling there is.
No matter how hard we try, when it comes to family life there are going to be times of hurt, pain and grief. Family therapy can help your family weather these storms. Family therapy can help patch strained relationships among family members and improve how your family works together. Whether it's yourself, your partner, a child or even a sibling or parent, family therapy can help all of you relate more harmoniously. Making a commitment to relationship and family counseling can be a first, yet important, step towards a more rewarding and successful family life.
How Does Family Therapy Work?
All the common forms of family therapy attempt to influence what is going on using more than one member of the family.
Supportive Family Therapy is often used as a way of allowing family members to say how they feel about a problem in a safe, caring setting. Sometimes, the problem can be really difficult to deal with at home (for example, caring for a sick child), and this provides an opportunity for families to get together, and openly talk about it, as well as offer practical advice and information about further sources of help.
Family therapy using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques attempts to change the ways people think or behave in order to reduce or get rid of the problem. Homework tasks may be set, or specific behavioral programs might be drawn up.
Family therapy using Psychodynamic ideas tends to look more into the individual's own unconscious (sometimes called subconscious) minds. It attempts to reduce the problem(s) by uncovering what is really going on 'under the surface'. It is hoped that by providing the individuals in the family with, if you like, the 'real' reasons behind what is going on, people will be able to deal with their difficulties more successfully.
Systemic Family Therapy attempts to identify the problems and relationships, ideas and attitudes of all the family to get an idea about what is going on for the whole family. Once these areas are clear the therapist(s) will sometimes attempt to shift the problem(s), attitudes, relationships, to a position that is more beneficial, less damaging, or simply more realistic. They may do this in a number of ways, which may include education, homework tasks, experimentation (e.g. suggesting that the family try behaving or relating in a different way), or attempting to provide some insight to the family members about what is really going on. The emphasis is on the whole family, and not blaming one or more individuals, for the problem.
In the real world, even though therapists may mainly use one kind, they can often use more than one type of family therapy, depending on their own judgment about what is best at the time.
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