Family therapy or counseling addresses the specific issues that affect the psychological wellbeing of the family as a whole or of a particular member and its impact on loved ones.
Families can benefit from therapy when they experience any stressful event that may strain family relationships, such as financial hardship, divorce, or the death of a loved one. In addition, it can be effective in treating mental health concerns that impact the family as a whole, such as depression, substance abuse, chronic illness and food issues, or everyday concerns, such as communication issues, interpersonal conflict, or behavioral problems in children and adolescents.
Family counseling aims to promote understanding and collaboration among family members in order to solve the problems of one or more individuals. For example, if a child is having social and academic problems, therapy will focus on the 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 work proactively on minimizing or altering the conditions that contribute to the child’s unwanted behavior.
Family therapy borrows from different approaches (systemic, cognitive-behavioral, and psychodynamic) with the goal to understand the family’s dynamic, improve communication, problem-solving and coping skills.
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