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Family Therapy: Forget The Blame Game And Solve Conflicts Together


What is Family Therapy? How does Family Therapy work? Structural Therapy. Strategic Therapy. Narrative Therapy. Transgeneration Therapy. Communication Therapy. Reframing. Pyschoeducation. Relationship Counselling. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Family Therapy: Forget The Blame Game And Solve Conflicts Together

Family Therapy Forget The Blame Game And Solve
Conflicts Together
Table of Contents
  • What is Family Therapy?
  • How does Family Therapy work?
  • Structural Therapy.
  • Strategic Therapy.
  • Narrative Therapy.
  • Transgeneration Therapy.
  • Communication Therapy.
  • Reframing.
  • Pyschoeducation.
  • Relationship Counselling.
  • Conclusion.

What is Family Therapy?
  • Family Therapy is a special type of psychological
    counselling usually termed psychotherapy. The
    objective of the therapy is to help family
    members or close relatives resolve conflicts
    through improved communication and understanding.
    Where Family Therapy differs from other forms of
    counselling is that it has a focus on resolving
    issues at the family unit level. Therefore,
    Family Therapy addresses the behaviour of every
    member of the family and how it affects the
    behaviour of individuals and the relationships
    between family members. As a result family
    therapy will often be a combination of individual
    and group therapy sessions led by a trained
    Psychologist or licensed therapist such as a
    trained social worker. The therapy is designed to
    be short term and is most effective if all family
    members participate but in some cases that may
    not be possible. However the goal is to teach
    those that do participate how to better
    communicate and understand how the behaviour of
    individuals can adversely affect the behaviour of
    others in the family unit.

How does Family Therapy work?
  • Because Family Therapy addresses communication
    and promotes understanding at the family level
    rather than focusing on the behaviour of a
    particular individual it is effective in
    resolving conflicts arising from a multitude of
    causes. For example, Family Therapy is successful
    in providing the skills to enable a family to
    deal with the stress, anger and conflict that
    arises from conflicts parents have with their
    children or conflict between siblings. Many of
    these common troubles may arise from parent
    separation, divorce, financial troubles or
    alcohol or substance abuse. But often Family
    Therapy is needed to provide the support and
    skills in dealing with issues such as mental
    health issues within the family or relationship.
    In these cases the individual would receive
    specialist one-on-one therapy or rehabilitation
    treatment but the family members could undergo
    family therapy session to provide them with the
    skills to manage the crisis.
  • A crucial part of Family Therapy is that it
    strives to avoid the blame-game so avoids
    pointing the finger at any one individual.
    Instead, the therapist will typically interview
    all the family members individually to find out
    their particular point of view of the problem,
    how the problem arose and what they have been
    doing so far to resolve it. The goal after all is
    to assist families by giving them the skills to
    resolve issues and work through conflicts in a
    more open and healthy way. As a result Family
    Therapy treatment plan are typically short term
    with only around a dozen sessions. Though some
    families may wish to continue the therapy to
    strengthen the skills they have learned and the
    family bonds.
  • However, as there are so many potential root
    causes for conflict within any family there is
    also the need for many types of therapy
    treatment. As a result there are many approaches
    to Family Therapy counselling and we will
    consider some of the more common ones used by

Structural Therapy
  • The idea behind structural therapy is that the
    family strength comes about through a web or
    matrix formed by all the interpersonal
    relationships amongst the family members. A
    strong family or a well-adjusted family, is
    described as being one that can adjust and cope
    with problems by responding and developing in
    order to adjust to best serve the familys needs.
    In this case a therapist will work with the
    family group to identify and strengthen the
    family bonds as well as identify and help resolve
    interpersonal relationship issues that may be
    constraining the familys ability to grow and
    develop in order to resolve their issues. In this
    style of therapy the therapist is concerned with
    working with the family group to assist them in
    identifying and resolving their own internal
    interpersonal relationship issues. As a result it
    is often felt that the best results came about
    through therapy sessions taking the form of
    less-formal family group meetings. The technique
    the therapist common use is called tracking and
    this is where the therapist listens carefully to
    each family member as they relate their stories.
    The therapist carefully notes each sequence of
    events and this enables them to identify trends
    in the sequences and may assist in planning
    interventions or identifying trigger points or

Strategic Therapy
  • In contrast to structural therapy, strategic
    therapy is much more planned and borrows from a
    wide range of psychotherapy practices. The
    strategic plan is to step the counselling through
    a number of set stages or milestones such as an
    initial brief social session where the therapist
    gets to know each of the family members. Once a
    level of trust and familiarity has been
    established the therapist will move the sessions
    to the problem stage. This is where the therapist
    will discuss with members individually and as a
    group to establish the points of view of each
    member individually and as the family unit
    collectively. The next stage is the interaction
    stage where the therapist identifies the
    inter-relationship bonds between family members
    and how they interact with one another. This is
    an important stage as the therapist is trying to
    establish the internal family relationships and
    how weaker bonds can be strengthened or potential
    conflicts can be avoided. Once the therapist has
    established how the family group works its
    dynamics they can set goals and tasks to
    accomplish the objectives and these are the final
    two stages in the strategic plan approach.

Narrative Therapy
  • This approach to Family Therapy is quite
    different from other styles as it focuses on the
    individual rather than the family group. The idea
    behind the Narrative approach to therapy is that
    everyone has their own story or personal view of
    themselves. The narrative approach also gives the
    individual credit for having the skills and
    social intelligence to be able to fix their own
    problems if given sufficient help. The approach
    then relies on providing some initial guidance,
    clarity and support for the individual so that
    they can address their own issues in life. The
    Narrative therapy approach is therefore about
    empowering the individual the narrator so
    that they can learn the skills to identify and
    resolve conflict in their own relationships.

Transgeneration Therapy
  • The theory behind transgeneration therapy is that
    by observing the interactions between family
    members across multiple generations this will
    give the therapist a better idea of the familys
    core issues and strengths or weaknesses. This
    technique takes a broader look at the family
    set-up over several generations, which allows the
    therapist to examine past and present
    interactions that may cast light upon and help
    resolve current issues. Therapists also believe
    that the transgeneration therapy technique is a
    valuable additional tool in many other therapy
    approaches as it can also perhaps identify and
    avoid any potential future conflicts. One of the
    techniques applied by therapists using
    transgeneration is called the genogram. This is
    an enhanced family tree with all sorts of added
    relationship relevant information and this
    provides the therapist with a lot of background
    family information. Often with this level of
    family background the therapist can get a good
    idea of how the family works and its underlying

Communication Therapy
  • This is one of the most important approaches to
    Family Therapy as many cases are down to a
    breakdown in communications between family
    members. However despite lack of communication or
    communication skills being a root-cause for the
    escalation of family issues and perhaps even a
    trigger for conflicts it is difficult to resolve.
    Therefore communication therapy may be held at an
    individual level in order to trying to improve
    skills such as how to start a conversation or
    even how to listen to others. When communication
    breakdown is between specific family members such
    as a parent and child then mediated communication
    sessions are typically used to try and coax the
    participants to engage and actively listen to one
    another. Another technique that has some success
    is to promote non-judgemental group discussions
    where members are encouraged to reflect on their
    feelings and especially the feelings of others in
    the family group. By encouraging all family
    members to reflect and express their feelings in
    turn this technique may uncover faulty
    communications patterns between individuals.

  • Reframing is a common technique used in Family
    Therapy as it can prove very effective in
    removing or rather working around stubborn
    obstacle of behaviour. Typically reframing is
    used to re-categorize conflict trigger behaviour
    into something more acceptable. The classic
    example is the parent that nags and interrogates
    the teenager that has returned home late from a
    date. The idea being is if the teenager can see
    this behaviour not as the actions of a parent
    showing lack of trust or anger at perceived
    disobedience but as the actions of a concerned
    and worried parent then the behaviour would be
    viewed differently. Reframing is therefore the
    technique used to try and resolve conflict by
    reclassifying a negative behaviour into a more
    favourable and acceptable light.

  • This is a specialist technique used to educate
    and empower individuals suffering from mental
    health issues. A therapist using psychoeducation
    role is to assist and support the individual and
    importantly their family in dealing with the
    illness and often the stigmatization associated
    with mental health conditions. Therefore
    psychoeducation is used to firstly as the name
    suggests to educate the individual and family
    members by the transfer of knowledge regards the
    condition. Secondly, the technique is used to
    provide self-help and training as this goes a
    long way in thirdly, providing medication and
    treatment support. Lastly, psychoeducation
    provides safe conditions for an individual or
    family member to vent their anger or frustration.

Relationship Counselling
  • Not all Family Therapy involves the entire family
    unit as some failures or issues with
    relationships are down to problems between
    couples or siblings. These issues are often
    difficult to resolve because they can have many
    underlying root-causes. With regards relationship
    issues between couples they can arise from a
    variety of causes such as lack of trust,
    infidelity, financial problems, alcohol or
    substance abuse amongst many others. Poor
    communication and emotional distancing are the
    first symptoms that come to the fore quickly
    followed by a lack of sexual intimacy that makes
    couples question whether they should stay
    together or not. This is typically when couples
    seek relationship counselling. Unfortunately most
    couples put off relationship counselling until it
    is too late. They do this for a mixture of
    reasons but one common one is that they are
    concerned that by telling the truth about their
    feelings may make the situation even worse.
    However, just by showing a commitment to
    attending relationship counselling makes a
    significant statement of the individuals desire
    to preserve the relationship. As with all Family
    Therapy it works best when all relevant parties
    attend, in relationship counselling concerning a
    couple it is especially important. This is
    because it removes the opportunity for an
    individual to demonstrate the human condition of
    portraying themselves as the victim as is so
    common in individual therapy sessions. Also when
    a couple are counselled together counselling
    works to surface the deep-seated relationship
    problems and as couples recognize the problems
    from the others perspective they often show
    tendencies to work together to support one

  • Family Therapy takes the view that an
    individuals behaviour or symptoms must be viewed
    in the context of the wider family unit. This is
    especially true with young children as their
    behaviour is likely to be heavily influenced by
    the family group. However Family Therapy requires
    cooperation from the members of the family and
    that can often lead to resistance. As a result
    some family members may not wish to participate,
    but they should be persuaded to as the more
    family members are in attendance the better the
    therapist can gauge and understand the family
    structure and inter-relations. Of course there
    are many who do not wish to discuss family
    behaviour or relationships outside of the family
    unit and in some cultures that is deeply
    ingrained. However, Family Therapy is also very
    useful at surfacing unwanted and often damaging
    family behaviours that go unnoticed in day to day
    family life. Family Therapy may not be suitable
    for every family but when it is appropriate it
    can be a very powerful and useful form of

The End
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