We all start life with a family, whether that family is composed of blood relatives, adopted parents, a close-knit neighbourhood, or a foster family. This family that we acquire at birth influences every aspect of our lives, from our first moments to our last.
Even the best families can feel a need for help beyond their own resources at one time or another. Not all families are stable, healthy and happy all the time. The stresses of modern life, the need for better work-life balance, a family crisis of one kind or another, or mental health challenges for one or more family members can bring a family to its knees at any time.
Family therapy 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, 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 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 :
- Child and adolescent mental health issues
- Adult mental health issues
- Child, adolescent and adult behaviour difficulties
- Parenting issues
- Illness and disability in the family
- Separation, divorce and step-family life
- Anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders
- Fostering, adoption, kinship care and the needs of ‘looked after’ children
- Domestic violence and abuse
- Drug and alcohol misuse
- The effects of trauma
- Difficulties related to ageing and other life cycle changes.
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 people’s strengths and relational resources
- Work in partnership ‘with’ families and others, not ‘on’ them
- Sensitive to diverse family forms and relationships, beliefs and cultures
- Enable people to talk, together or individually, often about difficult or distressing issues, in ways that respect their experiences, invite engagement and support recovery.