Family Therapy

Family therapy, also referred to as couple and family therapy and family systems therapy, and earlier generally referred to as marriage therapy, is a branch of psychotherapy that works with families and couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development. It tends to view these in terms of the systems of interaction between family members. It emphasizes family relationships as an important factor in psychological health. As such, family problems have been seen to arise as an emergent property of systemic interactions, rather than to be blamed on individual members.

Family therapists may focus more on how patterns of interaction maintain the problem rather than trying to identify the cause, as this can be experienced as blaming by some families. It assumes that the family as a whole is larger than the sum of its parts.

Most practitioners are "eclectic", using techniques from several areas, depending upon their clients' needs. Family therapy practitioners come from a range of professional backgrounds, and some are s
pecifically qualified or licensed in family therapy. Most family therapists are psychologists, nurses, psychotherapists, social workers, or counselors who have done further training in family therapy.

Family therapy has been used effectively where families, and or individuals in those families experience or suffer:
  • serious psychological disorders (e.g. schizophrenia, addictions and eating disorders);
  • interactional and transitional crises in a family’s life cycle (e.g. divorce);
  • in support of other psychotherapies.