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Family therapy is a type of psychological counseling that is designed to help improve the interactions of individuals within the family unit, improve the overall wellness of the family, and change patterns of dysfunction.

The difference between individual therapy and family therapy is that instead of focusing on an individual’s issues, a family therapy clinician views presenting problems as somewhat of a system malfunction that needs adjusting. Through family therapy, family members have an emotionally safe environment to address specific issues that may be affecting the functioning, cohesiveness, and health of the family unit.

Family therapy is based on family systems theory, which is a theory of human behavior. Family systems theory views the family as a living, complex social system, rather than the sum of its individual members. Family therapy uses systems theory to evaluate family members in terms of their position or role within the family system. Instead of attributing a problem to a single family member, in family therapy, problems are treated by addressing and shifting the way the entire family system functions. 

Family is defined as “a group of two or more persons related by birth, marriage, or adoption who live together; all such related persons are considered as members of one family.” Family therapy is when two or more members of a family unit engage in psychotherapy sessions together. The term, the family has a broader definition for the purposes of family therapy. As Laney Cline King (LCSW) asserts that family as “defined by the modern family therapist is anyone who plays a long-term supportive role in one’s life, which may not mean blood relations or family members in the same household.” The needs of each family unit will vary, as they will be dependent upon the specific individuals that make up the family. The work that occurs during family therapy sessions is guided by the needs of the family unit.

A licensed marriage and family therapist typically facilitates family therapy sessions. A commonly held credential for mental health clinicians that offer family counseling services is obtained through the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). A family therapist will integrate certain psychotherapeutic techniques and exercises in the treatment plan to help the unified family entity heal. The typical duration of a family therapy session lasts about fifty minutes long.

Further Information and Support

Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At {Upwell Advisors}, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process. 

Feel free to reach to contact us anytime via email at sean@upwelladvisors.com. We look forward to supporting you on your journey.

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