Raising children in today’s hectic world is particularly challenging for many parents and requires dealing with numerous stressors that may, unfortunately, negatively impact families as their members grow and change. Family therapy is an option that can help strengthen and improve the quality of relationships within these families. Family therapy addresses the needs of each individual, focuses on communication and interactions, to enhance family functioning and overall health.
Family therapy began in the second half of the 20th century. Previously, human problems were dealt with using one of the various forms of individual or group psychotherapies. Over time these approaches were found to have their limitations, which gave way to helping individuals in relation to their larger social systems, namely families. The emergence of family therapy has broadened psychology’s traditional emphasis by understanding that some problems are better understood and dealt with in the context of an on-going family relationship.
REASONS TO CONSULT
Family therapy can help families that may be experiencing ongoing stress or a destabilizing, but time limited crisis to which, their typical resources used to recover has proven to be inadequate. Families may consult for a wide range of presenting problems. However, noted below is a list of frequent reasons families may decide to consult one of our professionals.
Some common problems which family therapy may help:
- Parenting skills
- Blended family issues
- Step – parenting
- Child /adolescent issues
- Communication problems
- Parent-child relational difficulties
- Parent-teen relational difficulties
- Child emotional / behavioural problems
- Launching and living with adult children
Additionally, family therapy has also been effective where families, and or individuals within those families experience or suffer:
- Eating disorders
- Oppositional/Conduct disorders
- Personality disorders
Family therapy’s emphasis is working with the group rather then the individual. The initial task is to assess the nature of the problem as clearly as possible. Generally, all members of the household are usually asked to attend the first interview and each person is encouraged to share his or her view of the problem. The assessment may vary between one or several sessions with its objective being to gain an accurate understanding of the family’s strengths and values as well as the presenting problem in order to set specific goals for resolving the family’s present difficulties. Once the therapy has begun, therapy may continue with the family as a whole or may be arranged for parts of the family with its ultimate objective of enabling families to develop their own methods of managing their problems and stresses more effectively, thereby improving the quality of their relationships and overall functioning.