Family therapy & Systemic therapy | E therapy

Family therapy & Systemic therapies

Family therapy is part of systemic theory. It works on the principle that the ‘client’ is the group or family, so when problems arise for an individual they are to do with the group. Therefore, the therapy is based on helping the family to work differently to resolve the individual’s and the group’s issues.

There are many different types of family therapy. Here we shall explore Satir’s conjoint family therapy. According to Satir dysfunctional behaviour occurs as a result of a dysfunctional marital relationship. Thus this is then the therapist’s main focus – all concerns stem from inadequate communication which can lead to reduced self-worth, esteem, love and even illness. The family therapist’s role is to demonstrate what good communication looks like, facilitate it and gently challenge the way it is used so that bad communication is no longer damaging to the relationship and the family. As the observer, the therapist looks at the way the family members participate in their roles and how they cope with different ways of being.

The therapist will have:

  • An initial assessment taking a family history: including pre-relationship, marital life and parenting issues.
  • Children’s understanding of parents.
  • In Satir’s model, the parents get seen.
  • Then the children join the therapy dependent on their ages.

The role of the therapist is to help the family sort out the dysfunctional elements, help them to perceive what they do and how to communicate openly and honestly. Sessions can be flexible and may also include co-therapists.

This is therapy suitable for families.