What is Family Therapy? What Does it Consist of?

Family therapy is a psychotherapy process that involves all the immediate family members, or sometimes even the stepfamily or extended family members like grandparents. One or a group of therapists conduct sessions to help the family sort out the issues that intervene in the family’s health and functioning.

This process is also called family counseling and is recommended when a family is going through a difficult period, huge transition or if any of the members in the family is affected with mental or health issues.

The belief in family therapy is that problems could not be solved or addressed properly without understanding the dynamics of the group. The way how the family functions influences how a member’s problem arises, and how it is encouraged or developed by other family members.

Who should practice family therapy?

Family therapy could be quite useful when any family members encounter issues with adult mental health, parenting issues, trauma, relationships, emotional disorder including anxiety and depression, financial problems, child or adolescent behavior, or drug, alcohol, and other substance abuse.

The ultimate goal of this therapy would be to make the members of the family attain improved communication within each other, understand and help each other solve their issues, and maintain a healthy and happy environment around the family.

Family therapy may also employ some of the techniques and exercises from cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy, or any other individual therapy types. As with other medical treatments, the type of therapy to be practiced will be decided by the therapist depending on the issue that the family is facing.

It should be noted that family therapy doesn’t mean that it should consist of only members with blood relations of the family, even someone who has played a long-term role in the member’s life will be considered during the counseling or therapy sessions.

Who all could be a part of family therapy?

Blended family:

The members of the family formed after the remarriage of a widowed or divorced parent, which includes the new partners, and the children of the previous marriage if any.

Extended family:

A person’s family of origin including the grandparents, in-laws, and other relatives.

Nuclear family:

The basic family including the father, mother, and their biological children.


A family that is formed by marriage or a long-term relationship between two individual adults who have one or more children from the previous marriage. A stepparent is someone who is not the biological parent of the child.

Types of Family therapy:

Depending on the issue faced by the family, or how the functionality and health are affected, the therapist may follow any of the below-mentioned methods.

Structural family therapy

This therapy will be mainly focusing on developing the interactions and maintaining better communication within the family and also social interactions.

Transgenerational therapy

In this therapy, the therapists examine the family conditions across many generations and find out the main issue within the family. The therapists analyze the current issue and link that condition to future struggles or stressful scenarios.

Communication therapy

As the name suggests, the objective of this therapy is to sort out the issue with the communication of the members of the family. Communication gap might occur due to differences in culture, geographical or personal experiences of the individuals and it may lead to trauma and mental health-related issues.

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