What Is Family Therapy?
Family therapy most often includes all of the members of a family, even those that are less than willing or able to participate (such as reluctant teens and extended family). Having all the players present helps the therapist understand the full scope of the patterns at play. The focus of sessions is on the multiple individuals that make up a family unit. Family therapists value observing the patterns, dynamics, and environment; all this information helps to interpret how to best help the individuals that make up your family.
To reduce conflict between family members, Family therapy aims to improve the ways they communicate. Family therapy recognizes that many personal issues affect numerous members of a family, not just one person. A skilled therapist may sit down with family members and help them talk through their issues and teach them more effective ways to communicate and resolve conflicts. Whether you are having a conflict with your spouse, parent, or child, family therapy may help you resolve your issues and become a stronger family.
What to Expect from Family Therapy
Therapy is a difficult journey for many, as their comfortable patterns and behaviors are analyzed and challenged in hopes of seeing positive change. Those that succeed in therapy are open-minded to new strategies, willing to try new methods, and dedicated to the process. The role of your therapist is to walk alongside you, at your pace, with guidance and support.
In the first session your therapist’s main focus is to get to know your family, gain a clear understanding of what you’re looking to change, and learn more about why you're looking for help. Your therapist will guide you through the expectations of therapy: both what your therapist expects of you, and what you can expect from your therapist. You will discuss confidentiality, different policies, and get your other questions answered. Next, your therapist will assist you in determining your goals and you will make a plan to achieve those together.
In subsequent sessions be prepared to laugh, cry, stretch, grow, and reach goals you thought were impossible.
Systemic Family Therapy
To understand the many parts that make up a child, a Systemic Family Therapy approach may be utilized. A Systemic approach focuses on the multiple systems that each individual is a part of, and how those systems impact the person's experiences interacting with the world, as well as how the world interacts with them. Your child is a part of your immediate family, your extended family, a member of a friend group, a resident of Fort Lauderdale, a student at a local school, and a teammate on a team. On a larger scale, he or she is a part of the systems that he or she culturally identifies with (e.g., age, race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation). All of these dynamic and shifting systems make up who your child is, how he or she relates to others, and how others relate to your child. Systemic therapy is successful because the therapist is in tune with the impacts and pressures from these various dimensions of identity.
Family Therapy sessions greatly value the depth and richness of systems and harnesses their influence to create long-lasting change.