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Family therapy is a form of psychological therapy aimed at solving problems and conflicts in the family and rebuilding ties between its members. It consists in finding the source of the crisis and ways to overcome it, which is to be achieved through a series of meetings attended by parents, children and the therapist. In what situations is family therapy needed and what does it look like?

Family therapy involvestalking family members with the therapist about difficulties in mutual relationships. It is based on the assumption that the family is like a system of connected vessels - when one of the household members has problems, they have a negative impact on their loved ones, and this in turn contributes to the emergence of misunderstandings and conflicts. The goal of family therapy is to overcome difficulties by identifying sources of conflict, naming them and working together to solve them.

Family therapy - when is it needed?

Family therapy is recommended in situations where relationships between household members are disturbed, i.e. there are frequent quarrels and conflicts between them, they have difficulty recognizing their needs, do not feel connected with each other, they lack closeness, understanding, support . It can also be helpful when the family experiences a crisis caused by some overwhelming, traumatic event, e.g. death of one of its members, loss of job, separation, divorce, change of environment, etc.

Most often, families seek therapy in the following cases:

  • when one of the parents has emotional and personality problems that affect other household members, causing them mental suffering. For example, this could be a mother's or father's addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, personality disorders, an inability to cope with stress, emotions, etc.;
  • when family members do not know each other even in simple matters or do not show any willingness to contact each other;
  • when tense relationships between parents, e.g. constant quarrels, have a bad effect on children, which causes them to cause educational problems;
  • when parents suspect that something is wrong with their child, for example isolating themselves from relatives and friends, having worse grades at school or behaving differently than usual, e.g. being more secretive,reticent;
  • when the whole family is affected by a life crisis (e.g. death of a loved one, serious illness, loss of job, the need for a sudden change of environment) and its members find it difficult to accept the new situation;
  • when parents start hearing signals from school that the child does not want to learn, plays truant, conflicts with peers, misbehaves.
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Family therapy - what does it look like?

The whole family should participate in the therapy, then its effects are the best. It is carried out by a psychologist specializing in family therapy. During the conversation, he pays attention not only to the person whose behavior affects the disturbed relationships in the family, but to all its members. The specialist tries to remain neutral and not take any side of the possible conflict. Its goal is to look for those who are to blame, but to work out a solution that will meet the needs and expectations of all participants of the meeting.

The detailed treatment plan depends on the chosen therapeutic method, but it usually consists of a quiet conversation during which the psychologist encourages family members to talk about their feelings and needs. In this way, he wants to find the causes of incorrect relationships between household members and, on this basis, find ways to deal with problems for them.

In family therapy, the perspective of both parents and children is important, therefore the specialist sees the arguments of both parties as equally important, without favoring adults.

Meetings are generally 1.5-2 hours long and are held every 2-3 weeks. For a change to occur in the family, at least a few meetings are needed, but their number depends on the progress in therapy. You should definitely not count on the effects immediately after the first meeting. Most often, it is organizational in nature, and is primarily used to identify the specialist in the family situation and to choose the appropriate therapeutic method.

Family therapy - effects

The main effect of the therapy should be the resolution of the problem with which the family came to the therapeutic center. But there are also other benefits of family meetings with a psychologist:

  • greater sensitivity to the feelings and needs of other family members;
  • better understanding of your and your loved ones' motives;
  • improving communication in the family - more frequent listening to what the other person has to say, learning to openly talk about yourself and your feelings;
  • increasing parents' educational competences and greater awareness of their needsphysical and emotional issues of the child.

Family therapy - therapeutic methods

Each family is different and has different problems. For this reason, there is no one universal therapeutic method that would be effective in solving all the difficulties that families most often face. Here are the most commonly used:

  • psychoanalytic family therapy- helps family members fulfill their roles in an open and flexible way. To this end, he strives to change their behavior and mentality so that they get rid of internal conflicts, fears and complexes that affect the relationships in the family.
  • experience-based family therapy- serves to increase the sensitivity of family members to the needs of their relatives and to break with rigid patterns of conduct. He notices the need for their individual development and openness to experience. The therapist creates a very close bond with the family, supports it and thus serves as a positive role model.
  • behavioral family therapy- emphasizes the change of dominant behavior in the family from criminal to rewarding. It teaches how to clearly communicate your needs, show support to your partner, and find compromises. It does not propose a complete break with current behaviors, but a modification (e.g. expressing yourself in a more specific, specific way, instead of "you are not interested in me" - "you did not ask me how my day was").

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