Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps family members improve communication and resolve conflicts. Family therapy can vary in accordance to the needs of the family and the different structures each family unit can present.  At times, it may include all family members, a select sub-group of the family representatives or just those able or willing to participate. Family therapy sessions can teach you skills to deepen family connections and get through stressful times, even after you’re done going to therapy sessions.

Family Therapy involves multiple therapy sessions, usually lasting at least one hour each, conducted on a weekly basis for several months. In this form of therapy, the family is the unit of treatment, instead of an individual or just one member of the family. During the length of therapy, many or all members may be seen depending on the system’s needs. Sessions at times may involve one or two members or the whole family. Sessions may focus on individual members or relationship pairs within the family; however, the main focus is still to create a change in the interaction patterns of the family. Normally Family Therapy is initiated to address a specific problem, such as a family member with a psychological disorder, addiction, or adjustment to a death in the family. In a therapy session, therapists seek to analyze the process of family interaction and communication and do not take sides with specific family members.

Family Therapy is based on family systems theory, in which the family is viewed as a living organism rather than just the sum of its individual members. Family Therapy uses systems theory to evaluate family members in terms of their position or role within the system as. Problems are treated by changing the way the system works rather than trying to fix a specific member usually referred to as the identified patient.

Your family may pursue family therapy along with other types of mental health treatment, especially if one of you has a mental illness or addiction that also requires individual therapy or rehabilitation treatment. Family therapy can be useful in any family situation that causes stress, grief, anger, or conflict. It can help you and your family members understand one another better and bring you closer together.