Every household has its share of different problems it has to face and overcome daily. If these difficulties are not handled expansively, some issues can force the support and unity that are expected and irreplaceable in such a setting to collapse. Seeking help from a professional can help with these hardships since this is considered one of the benefits of family therapy. This ensures that the issues are timely and comprehensively addressed before affecting other individuals. Family therapy is a form of psychological counseling or psychotherapy that assists family members in resolving seemingly irresolvable conflicts and improving communication as a way of approaching the compromise. In most cases, family therapy is provided by a clinical social worker, a psychologist, or a licensed therapist. These therapists are the specialists who have either postgraduate or graduate degrees credentialed by American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). The purpose of this essay is to extensively examine the benefits, preparations, expectations, precautions and risks of family therapy.
Advantages and Preparations for Family Therapy
Metcalf, L. (2011). Marriage and family therapy: A practice-oriented approach. New York: Springer Pub. Co.
A family is often viewed as a small term. However, it can include all family members or any other individuals willing to participate. The treatment plan offered by therapists is always dependent on and dictated by the familys situation. Sessions carried out during family therapy teach the individuals the skills necessary to deepen family connection and overcome stressful times even when an individual does not attend the therapy sessions anymore. Family therapy assists in improving a troubled relationship with children, spouses or other family members. The issues such as financial or marital problems, conflicts between children and parents, a mental illness or the impacts of substance abuse can all be addressed in a family and need the solutions provided through the specialized aid (Metcalf, 2011). A family unit can pursue family therapy along with other different types of mental health treatment, even more so if one of the family members has an addiction or a mental illness needing rehabilitation treatment or individual therapy involvement.
For instance, in a case of addiction, the family is supposed and advised to attend family therapy in a body. On the other hand, the addicted individual will separately participate in residential treatment too. At times, the family can also participate in family therapy even when the person addicted fails to seek treatment. Another example of family therapy assistance is the one helping family members to cope if one of their relatives has schizophrenia (Metcalf, 2011). However, the person with this disorder should continue with his or her treatment plan, which includes one-on-one counseling, medications or even other appropriate treatments. Family therapy is also helpful in the situations that cause conflict, grief, stress or anger in a family. Notably, it encourages family members to understand one another better and even bring them closer.
Before arranging sessions with a family therapist, some critical preparations are essential. It is significant to consider if the therapist is suitable for the family in general. Two of the core factors to take into consideration when choosing a specialist are education and experience. The level of education and training background as well as the state licensing a professional therapist is important when choosing one. Additionally, they, as it has been stated above, should be accredited by AAMFT or any other professional organization and have specialty training, especially in family psychotherapy. Besides, it is important to enquire if they have ever dealt with the similar problem at hand. The second aspect to consider is availability and location. This entails office location, the office hours and their availability in case an emergency arises (Metcalf, 2011). The third point of consideration is the number and length of sessions. This will cover the duration of each session, schedule of the sessions and the number of sessions an individual is supposed to undergo. The last points of concern are insurance and fees. This will cover the charges per session, the questions whether health insurance plan covers the services being offered, if the full amount is upfront and what policy applies upon the cancellation of a session.
Expectations during Family Therapy
Everett, C. A., & Everett, S. V. (2001). Family therapy for ADHD: Treating children, adolescents, and adults. New York: Guilford Press.
Through the process of family therapies, many family members are brought together. However, any family member may choose to visit a therapist individually with most sessions lasting for fifty minutes to an hour. Family therapy process is a short-term exercise continuing less than six months with the number of sessions depending on the familys situation. Besides, therapists recommendations can also determine the number of sessions to be undertaken. During therapy sessions, a therapist examines the familys potential capabilities to solving problems and expressing thoughts as well as emotions (Everett & Everett, 2001). A therapist also explores family rules, behavior patterns and roles to identify what contributes to the conflict and the ways to resolve the issues mentioned. The therapist may also identify the familys strengths, for instance, caring for one another, and weak points such as difficulties in trusting each other. For example, in a family where one of the members is suffering from depression, it can be hard for the other family to understand the reasons for this issue and what solutions to offer the patient.
Even though this may worry the family members, the discussion with the patient can raise the arguments that lead to the state of being angry and frustrated. In such situation, family therapy can be useful in pinpointing the particular challenges and the way this family is able to handle them. Family therapy makes family members understand and learn new ways of interaction. Besides, families also discover the tactics of overcoming unhealthy patterns relating to each other. At the end, the patient will be better equipped to deal with depression and the entire family will achieve a sense of togetherness and understanding. It is important to note that family therapy does not make unpleasant situations go away and disappear completely. However, it can help families understand each other more. It can also provide family members with the skills of coping with challenging situations in effective ways (Everett & Everett, 2001).
Precautions and Risks of Family Therapy
Winek, J. L. (2010). Systemic family therapy: From theory to practice. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage.
Some families are not considered suitable for family therapy as they include those who are found to be psychotic or have been diagnosed with paranoid or antisocial personality disorder. The second precaution is that the families whose religious or cultural values are opposed to or perhaps suspicious to psychotherapy are not suitable for family therapy as well (Winek, 2010). The members who do not participate in treatment sessions as a result of physical illness or related limitations are not ideal for this therapy as they are not able to experience its full impact. The fourth precaution regards the families whose members are said to have rigid personality structures. In this case, the other relatives are at high risks of a psychological or emotional crisis. The last precaution is for the families who are not willing to meet regularly for treatment.
The primary risk associated with family therapy is the possibility of unsettling the rigid personality defenses in relationships or individuals who had been fragile before the start of the therapy. It is a fact that for families who have been diagnosed with psychological disorders, intensive family therapy can be difficult (Winek, 2010). Family therapy is not suitable for adolescents and children who do not understand fully the interactions that occur during the procedure. However, it can be helpful to add an individual therapy to deal with adolescents and children.
In conclusion, the primary goal of family therapy is to assist families improve communication and solve family conflicts. Besides, family therapy also helps in handling and understanding family situations for instance, mental or physical illness, conflicts and addiction. It also aids in creating a better functional environment in homes. In cases where a family member has a severe mental or physical illness, the role of family therapy is to educate the entire families on the disease and the care that the members ought to provide. For adolescents and children, family therapy is most frequently applied when they show signs of mood disorder or anxiety. In case these are not present, it is advisable not to involve the children and adolescents into the process at all as there are some risks are that family therapy may be stressful for them. When choosing a family therapist, an individual has to make a few considerations. For instance, education, location, specialty in training, availability and the length of the sessions. Some of the precautions to be taken are that families with paranoid or antisocial personality disorder do not require family therapies.