Counselling & Psychotherapy
Family Systems Theory
Family systems theory sees the family as an emotional unit. The members of the family are reliant on one another. The nature of the family is that the members have established emotional bonds. When you feel detached from your family, it's likely due to trauma. The family can affect people deeply. Often people within the family look for approval and validation from one another. When those aren't received, it can cause lasting hurt, mainly when it involves a child craving a parent's reassurance.
What to Expect
Usually, family therapy is short term - generally around 12 sessions. It may include all family members or just those that are able or willing to participate. Family therapy sessions might teach you skills to strengthen family connections and get through worrying times, even after the therapy has ended.
During family therapy, you can:
• Explore your family's capacity to solve problems and talk about thoughts and emotions in a helpful way
• Explore family roles, rules and behaviour patterns to recognise problems that contribute to conflict — and ways to work through these problems
• Recognise your family's strengths, for example: caring for one another, and weaknesses, for example: difficulty confiding in one another
When Family Therapy Is Used
Sometimes, people acquire specific patterns of behaviour, thinking or reacting early in life and can benefit from family therapy at any stage. It might be helpful for those with mental health problems, for example: anxiety, depression, anger issues, bipolar disorder, or eating disorders. It might help people cope with disabilities or support a family member with a disability, whether the condition is a mental or physical health diagnosis. It might help parents cope with a special needs child in a more productive way
How Does it Work
In family systems therapy, the whole family works together to disentangle problems that are happening between one or more family members. It's crucial that the family works together as a team. Each family member will talk about the issues occurring within the family unit and will explain how those issues are affecting them. Together, the family studies and solves the problems they've been facing. In family systems therapy, you might participate in role-playing exercises where you switch roles to see how other members of your family feel. The goal is to rebuild familial relationships and reinstate a healthy family system that works well.