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Family Therapy or Systemic Psychotherapy enables family members, couples and others who care about each other to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely to understand each other’s experiences and views, in order to appreciate each other’s needs, build on strengths and make useful changes in their relationships and their lives. Individuals can find Family Therapy helpful, as an opportunity to reflect on important relationships, past and present and find ways forward. Research shows Family Therapy is useful for children, young people and adults experiencing a very wide range of difficulties and experiences.
Family therapy has ushered in a whole new way of understanding and explaining human behaviour. Family therapists shifted the focus of treatment in a way that allowed for social context, communication and relationship to have primary importance in therapy.
This way of working involves engaging with the whole family system as a functioning unit. While the individuals in the family are as important in family therapy as in individual therapy, family therapists also deal with the personal relationships and interactions of the family members and their broader community.
Family Therapy aims to be:
Inclusive and considerate of the needs of each member of the family and/or other key relationships (systems) in people’s lives
Recognise and build on peoples’ strengths and relational resources
Work in partnership ‘with’ families and others
Sensitive to diverse family dynamics, beliefs and cultures
Enable people to talk together or individually about difficult or distressing issues, in ways that respect their experiences, invite engagement and support recovery.