The family is the source of our greatest joys and satisfactions but it often becomes the source of great worries and suffering as well.
If you are concerned about your relationship with your children, your parents, your siblings or other family members and have already tried many solutions that have not worked, family therapy can be very helpful.
What is Family Therapy?
Family psychotherapy is a branch of clinical psychology, which focuses on improving family relationships. It’s the best working strategy you can choose for:
Communicating in a safe environment where you can address difficult and thorny issues without them spilling over like at home.
Getting to understand each other and feel that you are heard and understood.
Learning how to find solutions that are good for both the couple and the rest of the family.
In short, so that you can feel at ease again together and among yourselves and feel really at home.
How does Family Therapy work?
Family psychology does not focus on finding fault or proving a party right. It is a form of therapy in which the focus is on family relationships rather than on a single person. Its main objective is to create a safe space between family members where communication based on empathy and mutual understanding is achieved. All of this is done with the aim of overcoming problems, leaving tension and suffering behind and making coexistence and the relationship a source of support and love once again.
Systemic family therapy starts from a fundamental and very powerful premise according to:
The more people are committed to resolving a difficult situation, the more chance there is to resolve this situation
Maybe you are asking yourself some of these questions…
Does the whole family come to family therapy sessions?
This is one of the most common doubts and concerns that may be holding you back from asking for help. The answer is no.
The whole family does not have to come to every session but it is possible that in some sessions more than one person is called. The decision is made according to the characteristics of each family member and what you need to solve. But of course, it also depends on who is and who is not willing to participate.
And what if someone doesn’t want to or can’t come?As in other situations in life, one thing is ideal and another thing is what happens in the end. If someone doesn’t want to or can’t come, they don’t come. That does not mean that we do not have him “present”, we may even save a chair for him even if it is empty. And one way or another we will make him participate, for example by asking other family members what he would think, what he would do, how he would feel… We also sometimes write or email those who have not been present at the session if we think it is important for them to be aware of what has happened at the consultation or if we need to know their point of view. And if they cannot attend because they are far away, we can also offer them online therapy so that we do not miss out on their valuable input.
How often are the visits made?
In family psychology we usually work with fortnightly visits, that is, every other week. The reason for not doing them every other week is that after each session you will have things to think about or tasks to do at home. A week might be too short a period for you to start rehearsing new ways of relating.
However, my priority is to adapt to your needs. If the degree of anxiety or suffering is high or the conditions are right, we can also work on a weekly basis.
How long does family psychotherapy last?
Some cases can be resolved with 1-2 counseling sessions but in my experience, those families who are willing to make small changes and have at least one member who is highly motivated by therapy, achieve significant changes in an average of 10-12 sessions.
In any case with my way of working, I always try not to make the therapy last longer than necessary.
An example of family psychology
To help you better understand what this family therapy is, I’ll tell you a case that will serve as an example.
Let’s assume that the Lopez family is concerned about the behavior of their 15-year-old son because he is very rebellious and they feel guilty because they think they did a bad job as parents and they no longer know how to deal with the situation.
Most likely, in the first session we will cite a father and mother as well as their two children, this way we will have a more complete picture of what is happening. In this first session the four of them will have the opportunity to explain what is worrying them the most and above all how they have been trying to solve these problems until now:
We may call on single parents to help them form a solid team.
We can summon the young child just to be able to understand better what is happening, to give him/her the tools to manage his/her emotions better or to improve his/her communication with his/her parents.
We can invite the two brothers together to strengthen the relationship and the complicity between them or we can even call the grandparents if we believe that they are playing a very important role in this family and that their help is indispensable in dealing with the situation.
Of course the approach will be different if the parents are separated as we can understand that you do not want to attend the sessions together. Family therapy is a flexible method that starts from the fact that your family is unique and singular.