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Family Therapy

Let’s be honest: When one member of the family is struggling, the whole family is impacted too.

I believe that the presenting issues of any given family member are often a biproduct of the family system dynamics at large. Oftentimes, this is intergenerational. Many times, it is even a trickle-down-effect of intergenerational trauma.

My approach to family therapy is through the lens of family systems theory. I incorporate  Structural Family Therapy techniques, as well as Strategic Family Therapy interventions, tailored to the unique needs of the family unit. Parenting support is a big piece of this work.

Although psychological challenges typically surface later in life, the origin often begins in early life – stemming from the family of origin. Families in conflict, as well as couples and individuals with concerns related to their families of origin, can benefit from family systems therapy.

In family systems therapy, each family member works together to better understand their group dynamic, as well as how their individual actions affect each other and the family unit as a whole. 

Structural family therapy considers the aspects of family rules, patterns of behavior, and family structure/hierarchies, whereas Strategic family therapy is often used for families with children or adolescents who are dealing with behavioral issues.

Family Systems Therapy is founded on the following eight principles:

  1. The differentiation of self: The sense of individuality a person develops, instead of relying on others in their family or social groups. 
  2. The triangle: The relationship dynamic between three people which can impact relationships with others in the family.
  3. The nuclear family emotional process: Relational patterns that occur in the family, including marital conflict, dysfunction in a spouse, impairment of one or more children, and emotional distance.
  4. The family projection process: Parents may transfer their feelings or anxieties onto their children who then may displace their own feelings or anxieties onto others.
  5. The multi-generational transmission process: Small differences in differentiation between children and parents can lead to large differences among extended family members over time.
  6. Sibling position: Birth order often affects the dynamics between children, siblings, and parents.
  7. The emotional cutoff: Family conflict with no resolution may prompt some to sever a relationship entirely.
  8. Emotional processes in society: Larger social and cultural forces can influence family relationships.

Family therapy can look like:

  • Targeting healthy communication skills
  • Modifying behavior
  • Processing emotion
  • Understanding family roles and modifying them as needed
  • Setting boundaries
  • Learning new ways of relating to each other
  • Though reframing
  • Meeting individually and as a group with all family members or key players in the family system (ie. Grandparents, foster parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, adopted family members, really anyone considered family and relevant to the system!)

Any family that is coping with tension or conflict can potentially benefit from family therapy, but it is often recommended in situations or life events that include:

  • Families affected by trauma
  • Divorce, separation, or remarriage
  • Blended families
  • Intergenerational families
  • Single-parent families
  • When one family member is affected by a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, substance use, or PTSD
  • Families affected by chronic illness or disability
  • Significant life changes such as changing careers, coming out, or moving

I believe that family therapy can support the healing of intergenerational patterns of trauma, dysfunction, and abuse. I am now accepting clients for family therapy on a case-by-case basis.

Considering family therapy?

Contact me for a complimentary 30-minute phone or video consultation so that we can discuss your family’s therapy needs, or click the link below to schedule a session today. I look forward to supporting you!