Family Therapy is a type of talking therapy that can be used in the treatment of some mental health conditions, interventions, and family disputes.

Like many other types of treatment, there are advantages and disadvantages to it, as we cover in this article.

Family therapy will involve multiple members of the same family

What is Family Therapy?

Family Therapy: Family therapy is a form of therapy that is delivered with close family members. The therapy can focus on how a person’s actions have caused problems for their wider family. In many cases, the family will be told not to condone nor reward behaviour that is associated with their problematic behaviour. In theory, by seeing the damage their behaviour can cause, this can help the individual change their behaviour.

Advantages of Family Therapy

  • Increases family bond: Family therapy can have a strong impact on the overall bond of a family. It allows family members to see the struggles of one of their own – and understand what they are going through.
  • Raises awareness: Family therapy is often required when one member of the family is engaging in behaviour that is having a negative impact on the rest of the family. Family therapy allows the person to see the impact of their actions on the family.
  • Family members respect the person: Similar to the above, family members might not realise what their member is going through, and may not be aware that they have a mental health condition.
  • Results in happier family: Usually, Family therapy is able to restore a family’s bond, eliminate any negative atmosphere and overall, make the family have a healthier relationship.
  • Useful tools: Family members will learn a lot during the therapy. They wiil learn tools to help them support one another in the long-term. This can help guard against future relapses and problems.
  • Grievances can be aired: It is likely that all members of the family will have plenty to say regarding the situation. Family therapy gives each family member an opportunity to talk about their feelings in a controlled environment, where the therapist will ensure that everyone has a chance to speak.

Disadvantages of Family Therapy

  • Requires active participation by all: In order for Family therapy to work at an optimum level, it requires active participation from the whole family. The entire family needs to be committed to the process, with no dissidents. All it takes is one member not being committed to the therapy, and it won’t have the same effect.
  • Time commitment: Family therapy is something that can’t improve the dynamics of the family overnight – it requires time to work. Sessions take place over a course of a few months, and needs plenty of sessions for meaningful change to be accomplished.
  • Lacks individual focus: Commonly, multiple members of the family will require individual therapy to get over their problems. Family therapy addresses the issue at a group level, and therefore doesn’t focus on individuals, which could have a bad effect on overall effectiveness.
  • Some circumstances require intensive treatment: As mentioned above, Family therapy takes time. But many mental health conditions require more intensive treatment to work. Some people with severe cases of Depression, Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia may need instant treatment, rather than over months.
  • Family therapy can potentially worsen family relations: While Family therapy aims to bring a family together, it can potentially have the opposite effect. Past memories and difficulties can lead to arguments, and instances where different family members have arguments are very common. If arguments become heated, it is possible for the family’s bond to weaken even further.
  • Requires a strong mediator: The role of the therapist is to teach techniques, listen, and above all – mediate. It is important to choose an experienced therapist with plenty of knowledge about mental health and families. Choosing an inexperienced therapist or someone with a hidden agenda could have disastrous consequences.

See Also


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