When speaking of ‘Family Therapy’ we are talking about evaluating the system of relationships that surround a person or a couple. That system begins with the individual and expands outward. Over a family life cycle the dynamics of those relationships can stay the same at various levels while changing at other levels. It is in the transitions in relationships that problems can occur.
Most families develop some type of coping mechanism as family members…and their relationships…change over time. But on occasion there are times when families get stuck.
When the focus is on the family as a system the Marriage and Family Therapist begins looking for patterns, perceptions, and beliefs on a relational level that, when addressed, can begin the process of altering the entire family system so that everyone shares in the responsibility for change and maturity.
So, it’s not uncommon for a Marriage and Family Therapist to invite the entire family unit for the first session. This way he or she can observe the family, tentatively diagnose the problem and begin talking about treatment alternatives with the family. Afterwards the therapist may meet with the family at other times or he or any one person or with various combinations of family members. In solution-focused, brief marriage and family therapy, the therapist works with the family to establish a goal in the first or second session so that everyone will know when the goal is achieved.
At Southshore Counseling, LLC, there are no charges for the first session. This allows time for the family to determine their comfort level with the therapist. The key is that Family therapy focuses on the family dynamics of the system, not the disease or problems of the individual. It does not assign blame but does place emphasis upon personal responsibility for change. It is goal-directed so we all know when we are done.
Family therapy represents a breath of fresh air to the mental health professions that provides a tested and proven alternative to more traditional approaches.