What Are The Benefits Of Family Counseling?

What Are The Benefits Of Family Counseling?

Posted on July 20, 2022,

Family counseling, or family therapy, aims to address psychological, behavioral, and emotional issues that cause family problems. Family members will work with a therapist or counselor to develop and maintain a healthy relationship.

What is family counseling?

Family counseling, or family therapy, is a method to develop and maintain healthy and functional family relationships.

The goal is to identify and address problems in the family. These issues could be emotional, psychological, or behavioral.

Many approaches to family therapy stem from family systems theory. This suggests that families work in systems rather than groups of people who function independently of each other.

According to family systems theory, changes in one family member will influenceTrusted Source changes in other parts of the family.

What is the difference between family therapy and family counseling?

The terms “family therapy” and “family counseling” are often interchangeable. Both usually involve talking to help individuals and families work through conflicts, barriers, or mental health issues.

However, a therapist may have different credentials than a counselor. Usually, a counselor requires only a bachelor’s degree and may provide general support to a client. A therapist requires a master’s degree and a license to practice.

Counselors typically work with people who have substance use disorders, for example. In most cases, a clinician doing family counseling will be a therapist.

Asking is the best way to know what kind of services a family mental health professional provides and what qualifications they have. During a meet and greet, families can ask about the specific counseling or psychological approach they take.

Therapists and counselors should also provide information about their education and license to practice.

Benefits of family counseling

Benefits of counseling vary from family to family, but they can include:

  • developing healthy boundaries
  • improving communication
  • defining someone’s role within the family
  • improving family dynamics and relationships
  • providing strength and coping tools for family members
  • addressing dysfunctional interactions
  • improving the family’s problem-solving abilities

Is family therapy effective?

There is evidence that family therapy is an effective form of counseling.

A 2018 literature reviewTrusted Source notes that family counseling and other family-based approaches, such as parent training and programs, are effective in a variety of situations, including:

  • sleep, feeding, and attachment problems in infancy
  • recovery from child abuse and child neglect
  • behavioral conditions
  • disordered eating

Additionally, indicates that family therapy is effective for adolescents with mental health conditions, regardless of gender. The authors note that the adolescents in this study reported fewer internal and external problems after therapy.

Also, parents reported that they learned more effective parenting methods and felt the family was closer. However, the study notes that female parents were more likely to find family counseling helpful than male parents.

Types of family counseling

Some family counselors offer home visits or online sessions. These could provide families with more comfort than office-based meetings. However, other families may prefer counseling outside of the home environment.

There are several types of family counseling:

Functional family therapy

This typically focuses on families with a child or an adolescent with complex emotional or behavioral problems.

The child and their parents or caregivers may attend 8–30 weekly sessions together. The sessions will help families learn strategies to deal with the child’s behavior and improve family functioning.

Multisystemic therapy

This aims to address any behavioral and emotional problems of children and adolescents.

Multisystemic therapy also focuses on broader issues with the child’s behavior. For example, it could aim to improve their interaction with social systems, such as schools or neighborhoods.

Transgenerational therapy

This involves a therapist examining interactions across generations, such as between parents or caregivers and children. The aim is to understand how past responses to challenges influence the family’s current interactions or problems.

Transgenerational therapy is useful when issues and behavior patterns persist across generations. Also, it may help predict how problems might develop in the future, since past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior.

Brief strategic family therapy

This therapy aims to change the patterns of interaction between family members.

It is a time-limited intervention that targets family problems leading to problematic symptoms showing in youths. Most brief strategic family therapies will last 12–16 sessions.

Research reports that this form of therapy has long-term benefits. The researchers found that brief strategic family therapy was more effective than treatment as usual, such as group therapy and parent training groups, at reducing arrests and incarceration in the short and long term.

Structural therapy

Structural therapy manages problems that arise due to the family structure. It aims to achieve a functioning and balanced family hierarchy, with appropriate boundaries between members.

The key difference with structural therapies is the focus on structure rather than specific behaviors that cause problems.

What happens during family therapy?

During a family therapy session, therapists may talk with the family as a group, as individuals, or as a combination of the two.

A typical therapy session is around 50 minutes once per week. People may find it difficult to discuss concerns initially, and it is important that the family finds a therapist it feels comfortable with. Families may try several therapists before finding one that meets their needs.

The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) states that family therapists provide the following services:

  • diagnosis and treatment of mental health and emotional conditions
  • treatment planning
  • psychotherapy for individuals, couples, and children
  • couple, group, and family therapy

The number of family counseling sessions depends on various factors, such as why a family is seeking help and whether family members participate during therapy.

Original Article : https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/family-counseling

Let's Connect.

Whatever your situation or circumstance, I’m proud of you for wanting something better. I commend you for having the courage to reach out for help. I believe change is possible. I’d be honored to take this therapeutic journey with you. Let's connect. 

~ Candis