The family is a key part of many people’s lives. We all come from a family, but each of our families can look different over time. Human relationships are complex, especially when it is someone who you spend a lot of time with or when it is someone you should be able to fully trust. All families experience crises, turmoil, and challenges, but it is how they deal with them that defines their interpersonal relationships. Family therapy can help family units learn better coping skills.
Some families can benefit from doing group or family therapy. Doing this helps all people to share their feelings and voice concerns to the other members. Not all family members may want to attend therapy, but working with a family therapist is a good option for enmeshed families. This blog will share more about what family therapy is and how certain techniques can help different family members.
What Is Family Therapy?
Also known as systemic therapy, family therapy works to help resolve conflicts inside a family unit. Family therapy focuses on the fact that an individual’s emotions are directly tied to their family dynamic and the interactions they have with their family members.
Understanding the family system as a whole will help a therapist be able to understand why an individual may make certain decisions. Families that have experienced a collective trauma can also be shown how to trust or connect with each other after this incident.
Different Therapy Approaches
Depending on what therapist you work with, there are different therapy approaches that can be used. Some therapists may use multiple techniques to help a family learn to improve their communication. Here are four common therapy approaches that are used in family therapy.
- Structural Therapy: The approach of structural therapy is to understand and analyze the family structure and hierarchy. The hierarchy is not always what it may seem to outsiders. A therapist will work to reset the hierarchy and work to achieve a more balanced family structure.
- Bowenian Therapy: Bowen was a therapist who believed the differentiation of self was the best way to achieve psychological well-being. Bowenian Therapy helps all family members to remove themselves from the family (cognitively) and become more emotionally self-reliant. This helps them to be less reactive to family dynamics and still be stable in crisis.
- Narrative Therapy: This therapy approach focuses on the stories of our lives. Even in a family, there are many versions of the same event in different family heads. Narrative Therapists will ask the family members to work on reframing their stories to notice their strengths.
- Systemic Therapy: Systemic Therapy views problems as patterns. Families usually rely on patterns, traditions, and rituals to make the unit function “normally.” This therapeutic approach will work to break these patterns or alter them to improve family interactions.
What Should I Get Out Of Family Therapy?
Working with a therapist should help you gain a better understanding of yourself as well as point out some bad habits that are affecting your relationships. Family therapy can help you achieve these goals and address other problems that occur only in tight-knit groups.
One big reason that people may attend couples therapy or family therapy, is to help them better resolve conflict. It is normal for people to disagree and even argue from time to time, but too much conflict can put strain on your relationship. Therapy will help you learn methods to reduce tension and give you communication tools to use when emotions are high.
Better Manage Stress
Some families face major stressors. Things like a death in the family, family illness, addiction, or estranged family members can all be causes of physical and emotional stress. Therapy will help the family unit come together during these times and give individuals the tools to help cope with challenges.
Break Destructive Patterns
Codependency, enabling, or unhealthy patterns will all be broken when working with a therapist. These patterns will continue to be a pain point in the family unit until you can work through them with clear communication. Therapy will help you adopt a healthier way of connecting with children, siblings, or parents.
Family Therapy From Ogden Psychological Services
Our therapists at Ogden Psychological Services want to help families of all sizes and backgrounds. Our sessions can last anywhere from 12 to 50 minutes and will discuss family dynamics and the commitment of individuals of wanting to improve the family unit. Problems in a family impact all the members. There are many stressful things in our world that can put pressure on family relationships. Our therapists use the best techniques and therapy models to help you achieve your goals.