Family therapy, or family counseling, is designed to address specific issues that affect the psychological health of the family, such as major life transitions, strained relationships, or mental health conditions.
Families that are burdened by any stressful event, such as financial hardship, divorce, or the death of a loved one, can benefit from therapy. Treatment can also be effective in addressing mental health concerns that impact the family as a whole, including depression, substance abuse, chronic illness, and food issues. Finally, families that are burdened by everyday concerns, like communication problems, interpersonal conflict, or behavioral problems in children and adolescents, can experience improvements in overall functioning as a result of therapy.
Family therapy aims to promote understanding and collaboration among family members in order to solve existing problems. For example, if a child is having social and academic problems, therapy will focus on family patterns that may contribute to the child's acting out, rather than evaluating the child's behavior alone. As the family uncovers the source of the problem, they can learn to support the child and other family members as they proactively minimize or alter conditions that contribute to the child's unwanted behavior.