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Family therapy is a particular approach to psychotherapy that, according to Good Therapy, “is designed to address specific issues that affect the psychological health of the family, such as major life transitions or mental health conditions.”

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.” 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.” When one member of a family system is suffering, it affects the entire system. Family therapy typically involves members of a nuclear family or stepfamily, and, in some cases, members of the extended family (e.g., grandparents) and/ or individuals that fall under the modern family therapist’s definition of family. Family therapy sessions can include joint sessions with everyone or smaller sessions with a subsection of the family unit (e.g., two family members).

Family therapy is generally facilitated by a therapist or team of therapists who are trained and experienced in family and/ or group therapy techniques. Clinicians providing family therapy could include psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, or counselors. Family therapy is based on family systems theory, which is a theory of human behavior. Family systems theory subscribes to the notion that the family is viewed as a living, complex social system, rather than just 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. Rather than 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 therapy promotes understanding and collaboration among family members. It can be helpful in any family situation that causes stress, anger, grief, and/ or conflict. Family therapy can illuminate and correct dysfunctional family patterns and work to disintegrate unhealthy family dynamics. It can improve communication skills, increase family cohesiveness, and strengthen family relationships. When family relationships are stable and supportive, they can have positive effects on one’s mental health, as they can provide resources that can help a family member learn to cope with stress, engage in healthier behaviors, and cultivate improved self-esteem. In a healthy family unit, family members can rely on each other for emotional support, economic support, and companionship.

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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