Within a typical session, family members are encouraged to talk about the problems they are facing as well to listen to one another’s experiences; respecting and clarifying each person’s beliefs, values, needs, hopes and assumptions builds understanding of each other’s perspectives as well as how their words and actions impact other members of the family. Family Therapists aim to adopt an approach that does not take sides nor blame individuals, and by giving everyone an opportunity to contribute to the discussion, family members can explore ways forward that will work for them as a unit.
Sessions and techniques may be adapted according to the therapy goals and the ages, needs, resources and preferences of the individuals involved. Sessions involving children, for example, may include drawing and play exercises to help them express their emotions in a more creative and engaging manner. Depending on the goals of therapy, sometimes individual sessions are offered to supplement the family meetings which can be particularly beneficial in order to decide on the best ways to express thoughts and feelings with others. In Family Therapy involving parents and children, therapists may also recommend talking with parents or children separately following family sessions.
Through this process, Family Therapy can help families and individuals to:
-Gain a better understanding of how their family functions
-Identify strengths and weaknesses within the family system
-Set goals and devise strategies to resolve problems
-Develop their communication skills