FAMILY THERAPY

We are pleased to offer therapy to family members experiencing difficulty in their relationship. This is currently limited to two family members. Note this is not formal systemic family therapy but it is a way of working with family members based on a combination of a Systemic approach and the Transactional Analysis approach we use for couples therapy.

Couples counselling using Transactional Analysis is explained here.

Systemic therapy looks at the family as a system. It looks at the family in the context of its relationship to other systems. It considers the structure of the family. It looks at patterns within and across the generations. It explores relationships within the family and behavioural patterns that are repeated throughout the family system. It uses techniques such as

  • Genograms - a kind of family tree 'plus' which identifies not only blood relationships within the family, but also emotional relationships, close ties and conflicts between family members, and relationships to institutions (workplace, religion, cultural/social groups) and more abstract constructs such as relationship to alcohol, drugs, violence and mental health

  • Timelines - explores family history and narratives, looking for patterns and applying lessons from the past to the future

  • Family sculptures - a means of visualising relationships and groupings within families and a way to conduct 'what if' experiments to model desired change within the family

  • Role play, 'internal other interviewing' (interviewing one family member in the role of another) and other methods for reframing family difficulties and allowing family members to see conflict from the other's perspective.

We use a combination of both approaches as appropriate to the issues the family members are trying to understand or resolve.

Above all though, family therapy is still a talking therapy. It provides a structured way of facilitating dialogue between family members, allowing each family member to be heard and understood and to express their needs, and to enable broken relationships to be repaired.

As when working with individuals, we offer an initial consultation (around 1 hour) to see if we are a good fit for each other. We may meet weekly (for 90 minutes) thereafter, although it is not uncommon for the gap between sessions to be longer (e.g., 2 weeks) than it is for individual work. The therapist may also occasionally ask to work with one or other family member individually rather than all together.