A specialized form of psychotherapy, family therapy is beneficial for addressing various issues. It helps family members deal with an immediate relative’s struggle with a mental illness.
In many cases, the therapist will recommend that certain family members attend sessions together. Often, these sessions will be renegotiated after a few months to ensure that the new patterns developed are sustained.
During family therapy sessions, you and your family members can discuss the issues impacting your family’s ability to communicate. In this process, your family therapist will provide you with tools for improving communication.
Research suggests that when family members receive psychoeducation about mental health conditions, they better understand their loved one’s symptoms and experiences. This can help them avoid blaming their loved ones and may even allow them to spot warning signs of relapse.
It is important to note that family therapy differs from individual psychiatric treatment sessions. Some family therapists specialize in more advanced forms of this type of treatment. These include family system theory and structural family therapy. They allow families to work through family ego defenses and transference patterns in a safe and supportive environment.
Family therapy sessions can often help improve the quality of relationships within the household. A therapist can offer advice and guidance on various family-related issues, including coping with the effects of mental illness.
One approach to family therapy involves psychoeducation. This part of treatment consists of teaching relatives about the nature and course of a person’s condition, how it affects family members, and what they can do to be helpful.
It’s common for relatives to lack awareness of a person’s disorder. This may lead them to engage in behaviors that perpetuate or worsen certain aspects of the disease. During family therapy sessions, a therapist can help educate families and teach them more effective communication techniques. This helps to improve family relationships and reduce stress.
Most family psychiatric care seeks to improve communication, promote positive behaviors and coping skills, and help families better understand their loved one’s psychiatric condition. Families of those with psychiatric conditions with poor prognoses like depression, psychoses, and conduct disorders may require more in-depth psychoeducation and advanced counseling approaches such as structural-strategic family therapy.
It is essential to find the right family therapist for your situation. Recommendations can come from your physician, mental health professional, or other trusted sources. You should also consider the family therapist’s educational and training background, areas of expertise, and insurance coverage availability. In particular, if you are seeking family therapy for an issue such as substance abuse or LGBT+ issues, it’s best to find a therapist with experience treating those specific challenges.
Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that can help families improve communication and resolve conflicts. It can also be used to support family members dealing with a mental illness, addiction, or other challenges impacting the whole family.
For example, some families pursue family counseling to help them cope with a loved one’s schizophrenia or another mental health condition. Others use it to manage the effects of divorce or other life changes. Newlyweds often seek premarital counseling to build a strong foundation for their marriage. Blended families may choose therapy to learn how to communicate effectively and resolve conflict.
When finding a therapist, find one you and your family feel comfortable with. You can use online directories or ask for referrals from family doctors to find a provider that is a good fit for your needs.
Family therapy can address various mental health challenges, including substance use disorders, eating disorders, and relationship issues. It also helps families improve their overall family structure and bonding. It’s often used alongside individual psychotherapy or counseling.
A critical aspect of family therapy is psychoeducation, or teaching the entire family about mental illness. This way, everyone is better equipped to support a loved one with mental illness.
Finding a counselor who has experience with family therapy is essential. During a search, asking friends and extended family for recommendations is helpful. You can also consult your primary care doctor, insurance company, or employee assistance program for guidance. Once you’ve found a counselor, make an introductory phone call or meeting to see if the therapist is right for you and your family.