Helping families change, heal, and move forward
In family therapy, change occurs with the support of family members as they come together to address issues from a systems point of view. Problems in one family member may be caused by, or affect, the larger family system. Family systems often unconsciously fight against change. The family may want the problem to get better, but it unknowingly continues to operate in a way which encourages the problem to continue and makes change difficult. To treat only one member who is the identified client without looking at the entire family often misses this perspective.
Therapists at St. Louis Child and Family Therapy:
Help family members look at how their family functions, including its strengths and weaknesses.
Help the family focus less on the member who has been identified as the "problem" and more on the family as a whole.
Help the family identify conflicts and develop strategies to resolve them.
Strengthen all family members so they can work on their problems together.
Teach new ways to handle conflict and create changes. Sometimes current, ineffective strategies make the family more vulnerable to problems.
During therapy sessions, the family's strengths are utilized as their unproductive functioning is identified and changed. All members take responsibility for problems. Some family members may need to change their behavior more than others.
Family therapy is a very active type of therapy, and family members are often given assignments. For example, parents may be asked to delegate more responsibilities to their children. Children may be asked to respond to their parents or each other differently. Communication patterns may be shifted to improve relationships.
Most families enjoy family therapy because all family members become responsible for change. Often activities are used in session that the family members enjoy.