Family therapy is a therapeutic approach that involves engaging with the whole family as a functioning unit to nurture and sustain change and development. It enables family members, couples and others who care about each other to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, to understand each other’s experiences and views, appreciate each other’s needs, build on strengths and make useful changes in their relationships and their lives. It is inclusive and considerate of the needs of each member of the family and/or other key relationships and is sensitive to diverse family forms and relationships, beliefs and cultures.
Family therapy focuses on the personal relations and interactions of the family members. It has the advantage of making differences in the way family members perceive mutual relations and interaction patterns during sessions. The patterns observed during therapy sessions frequently mirror habitual interaction patterns at home allowing the therapist to gain insight into the nature of problems and misunderstandings.
Family therapy involves direct participation of all family members in therapy sessions. It is more interested in the maintenance and/or solving of problems rather than in trying to identify a single cause. It uses a circular way of problem evaluation to find patterns of behaviour, in order to understand the ‘cycle’ of conflict – what triggers and maintains the problem, and what can be done to better the situation.
The clinician may focus on analysing specific previous instances of conflict as well as addressing the sources of conflict at a more abstract level and pointing out interaction that the family may not have noticed. By examining instances of conflict, individuals can better understand how conflict results and think of alternative ways of responding and the best way of resolving these conflicts in the future.
If you would like more information about any of our treatments, or to book an appointment with one of our clinical psychologists, please email or call the clinic on 0405 430 530.