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The Mayo Clinic defines family therapy as “a type of psychological counseling (psychotherapy) that can help family members improve communication and resolve conflicts.” Family therapy is deeply rooted in family systems theory, which is based on the notion that families are “continuous entities with rules, beliefs, and values that shape each member over time.” Family therapy can illuminate and correct dysfunctional family patterns and aims to disintegrate unhealthy family dynamics. Through participating in family therapy, family members are provided with an emotionally safe environment to address and work through specific issues that are adversely affecting the functioning and health of the family unit. Mental health professionals that facilitate family therapy guide family members to focus on, learn, and hone certain skills that build and reinforce positive relationships, such as:

  • Communication skills: Family members discover effective communication skills and learn to advocate for their own needs while also respecting the needs of others.
  • Conflict resolution: Effectively navigating conflict is an essential life skill, and for some cultivating this skill does not come easily; conflict resolution worksheets used during family therapy can help develop and refine these skills.
  • Healthy boundaries: Family therapy offers a framework for broaching the topic of boundaries within the family unit and creates space for each family member to advocate for their respective needs and comfort levels. 

The work that occurs in family therapy is entirely guided by the needs and therapeutic goals of the family unit. The typical goals of family therapy include “improving the communication, solving family problems, understanding, and handling special family situations, and creating a better functioning home environment.” Family therapy can strengthen kinship bonds because it provides family members with the opportunity to discover healthier, authentic methods of communication that align with the shifting goals of the family unit. It promotes understanding and collaboration among family members. 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. 

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

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