The dynamics of "family" have changed considerably over the years. In fact it is rare to find individuals who grew up in a home with the same biological parents who never divorced. Every person's family-of-origin is unique and comes with a distinctive set of challenges. The 'family,' however constructed, plays a significant role in our emotional, physical and spiritual development because each individual of the family system impacts the others.

 

     Since every family system has its own structure, patterns of communication, and "language," the goal of Family therapy is to bring parents, siblings and extended family members such as aunts, uncles and grandparents into the treatment process and open the lines of communication so everyone is "heard," perhaps for the first time. Family Therapy can be helpful to:

 

  • Understand how the family functions as a whole
  • Address the current role that family plays in an individual’s (identified patient's) life
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of each individual within the family system
  • Improve communication skills
  • Set goals and develop strategies to resolve situation-specific issues and challenges
  • Openly discuss marital/relationship problems and how the relate to the presenting problem
  • Explore parent-child conflicts that may be causing "splitting" between care givers
  • Boundary issues related to developmental transitions (i.e,, from infant to toddler, and teenage struggle for autonomy)
  • Address long-standing problems between siblings
  • Prepare the family for a major life changes such as a divorce or remarriage
  • Discuss the effects of illness on the family and grief and loss issues
  • Enhance the family system and make the entire family structure stronger

   

Family therapy is neither a "cure-all" nor a treatment of last resort, but it can be an effective way of dealing with problems which are embedded in a troubled family system. It can also be useful when combined with treatment of individual family members.

 

    One of the more important principles to keep in mind is that the family is a dynamic system and changes over time. There is always a challenge between the struggle for autonomy and individuation, and remaining loyal to family ties and values.

   

    Many families have difficulty achieving this balance; there is either there is an emphasis on family solidarity (to the extent that individual members have to relinquish their autonomy), or they emphasize individual autonomy to such an extent that there remains no family commitment whatsoever. Family therapy can aid in bringing these polarizations into balance. Feel free to schedule an appointment at 954-779-2855 to evaluate whether family therapy is appropriate for your situation.