Similar to Individual Psychotherapy, this is a type of “talking therapy.” Family therapy refers to a unit of parents and children in any combination. It can include extended family members, as well as blended family members. The focus is usually on some aspect that is creating major disruption or negative influence on the family. Often times the targeted aspect is a member of the family, usually a child or adolescent, whose behavior is triggering conflicts beyond the parent or parents’ ability to manage. Sometimes the aspect may be the result of a death in the family or the impending death of a terminally ill family member.
The family in crisis is often the initiating signal for a referral to family therapy. This can be the result of alcohol or drug abuse, a parent losing his or her job, a runaway or kidnapping of a child, the arrest or imprisonment of a family member, or any traumatic event like a natural disaster having a direct impact on the family.
The goal of family therapy is the resolution of the conflict. The process of resolution often involves some degree of emotional healing and new learning for each family member.