While many of us are familiar with individual therapy, family therapy works with a whole family unit or various relationships within a larger family system.Family therapy is a form of counseling that specializes in treating family relationships. The goal is to improve the relationships and functioning of the members of a family unit. The family unit may include anyone the members identify as family and/or those who are involved in the issues being addressed. This may include grandparents, aunt, uncles, foster children, girlfriends or boyfriends, nannies, babysitters, and more.
How these relationships respond to one another is the focus of this kind of multi-person therapy. Common issues that family therapy addresses include when there is conflict between family members; premarital and marriage therapy; alcohol/drug use; domestic violence; establishing family rules, roles, and expectations; problems with communication; dealing with family grief, loss, and transition; working in a family-owned business; managing conflict, parenting issues, divorce and blended families; and problems in the emotional connection. These issues or problems impact the whole family no matter how far remove one may feel from the situation.
In family therapy, the family unit is viewed as a whole. The family unit is often compared to a baby mobile that is balanced when all of the individual parts are functioning properly. If one of the pieces of a mobile or family is not functioning, then unit becomes unstable. In families, this can happen when one person becomes ill, someone has a problem with alcohol/drugs or other issues that prohibit him/her from fulfilling his/her role and purpose in the family.