This essay discusses about family therapy. It also goes through the importance of family therapy, its major goals and different theories and assumptions used by the family therapists for the treatment.
Family is the basic factor for the development and existence of a person and a society. Relationship between family members is the most important element in the psychological health of an individual. Family therapy is a branch of psychology, working for nurturing the intimate relationship between family members especially couples.
In family therapy, what the therapists are concerned about more is the relationship between people, instead of the emotions of people. Here therapists try to give primary importance to solve problems rather than identify the reasons for problems. Family therapy has around 5 to 20 sections.
Family therapy is a kind of psychotherapy. It does not focus merely on one or two members in a family; rather, treatment is given to all members of the family.
By this method what is being aimed at will be to identify the problems associated with a family and provide necessary treatment. “Therapy focuses on improvement in specific areas of functioning for each member, including communication and problem-solving skills.” (Family therapy, 2007).
In this modern era, growth of science and technology is in its peak stage, but the importance of family and family relationship is reduced compared to the earlier periods. Increased number of divorces, abortions, and mercy killing are the manifestations of the degradation of family relationship. It is not a positive sign. It is in a situation like this that family therapy plays a vital role for nurturing family relationships.
Conflicts are not uncommon in family life. Some conflicts may destroy the happiness of the family. In some families there may never arise any kind of conflicts, but it may not necessarily mean the members in the family lead a happy life.
Family therapy offers a solution for this kind of problems. For the success of the family life, understanding, trust and loving mentality between family members is an essential factor. Family therapy helps to create such kind of atmosphere in a family.
(How to heal family conflicts, 2006).
In certain situations family therapy becomes a necessity. Some such situations are loss or death of loving one, sickness of dear ones, divorce, drug and alcohol addiction, economic crisis, stressful family environment, deficient parenting skill, etc. (How to heal family conflicts, 2006).
Family therapy is done based on some theoretical concepts. Theories like psychoanalytic theory and humanistic theory help understand the functioning of persons in the world and how family and individuals influence each other.
The essence of all these theories are that the behavioural style of one person is different from another person by birth itself. David S. Freeman in his book Multigenerational family therapy says that, “ personal characteristics, such as temperament, physical appearance and intellectual capacity as well as timing of the birth of a child in the developmental life of the family are all important variables affecting the family.” (Freeman, 1992, p.24).
The basic objective of family therapy is providing mental health and solving family problems. Family therapy is conducted based on certain assumptions. An important assumption is that mental health of a person depends on the interaction between family members and psychopathology for those members.
Another assumption is that there is a tendency to inherit family interaction pattern from one generation to the next. There are other assumptions like flexibility helps to prevent the dysfunctional family and minimum three person system will helps to reduce the understanding mistakes in family. (Boss, Doherty, & LaRossa, 2008, p.511).
According to family therapists many psychological problems emanate from the social situation of the family. So in family therapy treatment has to cover all members of the family.
According to Nichols and Schwartz “The biological and psychoanalytic models advocated a causal, linear model of understanding human illness, which emphasized internal dysfunction and failed to take into account the reciprocal nature of interpersonal relations.” (Family therapy historical overview, (n.d)).
Family therapy style has changed over the period. Around 1975 Structured Family Therapy (SFT) technique started getting used. Here the treatment methods used were strategic and limited by time. Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) developed from SFT. It is very effective for solving behavioural problem related to children, adults and youngsters. (Robbins & Szapocznik, 2000).
In the 21st century, it came to be acknowledged that for giving family therapy to a family certain factors like gender, race, education level, and traditions should be considered.
The reason for this is that in the modern era the soul and sprit of the family is changed to a different level. Social and Education status of individuals has improved. Treatment style and methods are changed depending on this changes. Now different clients need different types of treatments. (Carlson, Sperry, & Lewis, 2005, p.2).
Major goals of family therapy are to encourage understanding between family members leading to reduced anxiety and tension in the family. Providing awareness to the parents about shortcomings in the parental behaviour is another aspect. It helps to create a more harmonious personal relationship between family members and it gives a chance for estranged members in the family to get back (Bowenian family therapy, (n.d)).
Through these methods family therapy helps create a healthy atmosphere in the family.
In this modern era, science and technology is very much advanced. Peoples get more avenues for entertainment in their life. But in spite of all these facilities and conveniences people have lost one thing: That is relationship, especially strong family relationship.
Some of the major reasons for this catastrophe is misunderstanding, stress from the family and from the work place, lack of morality and ethics etc. Family therapy offers a solution for minimizing this kind of problems in a family lead ing to peaceful and happy life.
Bowenian family therapy. (n.d). 2009.
Boss,Pauline G., Doherty, William J., & LaRossa, Ralph. (2008). Source of family theories and methods: A contextual approach. Springer. 511.
Carlson, Jon., Sperry, Len., & Lewis, Judith A. (2005). Family therapy techniques: Integrating and tailoring treatment. Psychology Press.
Family therapy: Purpose. (2007). Encyclopedia of mental disorders.
Family therapy historical overview. (n.d).
Freeman, David S. (1992). Multigenerational family therapy. Haworth Press. 24.
How to heal family conflicts. (2006). Depressionguru.
Robbins, Michael S., & Szapocznik, Jose. (2000). Juvenile justice bulletin: Brief strategic family therapy.