Whether you are blending a family or working on existing relationships, our therapists are experienced at facilitating family systems work. Our goal is to create harmony in the home. Just like a symphony with many instruments, our families perform best when all parts are in sync with one another. If your family is struggling to achieve harmony, family therapy can help tune up the system. Our therapists work collaboratively with families to understand and develop their roles, relationships, and interactions with one another.
Family therapy is an evidence-based treatment that is grounded in theory and skill-based dialogue (conversations). It provides a supportive and safe environment that allows your family to talk openly with a skilled professional who is trained to help you with issues affecting mental health. Oftentimes simply having focused conversations that create understanding can work wonders. From those conversations, we can identify your family’s strengths and allow you to build upon them. Since dialogue is an essential part of family therapy, it’s important that all members participate, and your therapist will work with you to ensure that everyone’s point of view is understood. Establishing consensus can empower you to generate cooperation and stop experiencing the same barriers over and over. We will work with every member to develop effective communication and problem-solving skills that will aid in creating better synergy in your family.
Common Family Therapy Tools
Your family is unique, and every family’s treatment will look different. Some families may only need a few sessions and others will take more time before they are ready to move forward on their own. Your therapist will work with you to identify your goals for family therapy and then create a plan that will support you in achieving those goals. Your therapist may:
- – Encourage everyone to listen and talk to each other.
- – Ask each family member about their experiences and feelings.
- – Clarify words and feelings so that every viewpoint is understood.
- – Suggest strategies that can aid in changing problematic patterns.
- – Facilitate family activities that encourage respect and cooperation.
What to Expect
Family therapy may not be the right fit for your family if one or more members is not willing to participate. In those situations, family counseling has the potential to increase family conflict. As we work to uncover and resolve issues, family members may feel more upset during therapy, and your therapist will help you work through these feelings. Family therapy is more likely to have positive outcomes if family members are open and honest, are committed to make positive changes, and are willing to complete homework assignments.
Family Therapy is Evidence-Based
Because modalities of family therapy have been around for decades, we have the data to show that family therapy works. Recent research studies have shown its effectiveness, including significant improvements in family member relationships and lessened conflict. These improvements can also lead to better functioning at work or school. The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy conducted a review of the evidence base of couple and family interventions looking at studies from 2010-2019. This large-scale review found that multiple rigorous, independent studies demonstrated efficacy for family-based interventions around disruptive behavior patterns, ADHD, anxiety and depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, suicidal ideation and behavior, substance use disorders, and traumatic event exposure. After families participated in strategic family counseling, adolescents reported fewer internalizing and externalizing problems after treatment, and parents reported higher family cohesion, higher satisfaction and perceived efficacy as a parent, and healthier parenting practices. A systematic review of multiple studies shows that families who had a member with an eating disorder were able to make gains using family therapy. These included the improvements of weight gain, eating disorder symptoms, patients’ and parental depression symptoms and parents’ negative experiences of caregiving.
The one consistent thing about life is change. Every family experiences a myriad of challenges whether it be navigating new developmental stages, learning to support someone with a mental health diagnosis, or adjusting to other changes such as career, death, divorce, or marriage. If you are experiencing consistent barriers to effective communication and relationship upset, contact our office to schedule time to talk with one of our clinicians. It can be overwhelming to realize that you are in need of professional help, but family therapy can help you look at things in a different way–one that allows you to better understand and improve your family dynamics. We want to help you nurture family relationships that will last a lifetime!
Wittenborn, A. K., & Holtrop, K. (2022). Introduction to the special issue on the efficacy and effectiveness of couple and family interventions: Evidence base update 2010–2019. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 48, 5–22. https://doi.org/10.1111/jmft.12576
Zinser, J., O’Donnell, N., Hale, L., & Jones, C. J. (2022). Multi‐family therapy for eating disorders across the lifespan: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. European Eating Disorders Review, 30(6), 723–745. https://doi.org/10.1002/erv.2919
Jiménez L, Hidalgo V, Baena S, León A, Lorence B. Effectiveness of Structural–Strategic Family Therapy in the Treatment of Adolescents with Mental Health Problems and Their Families. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(7):1255. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071255