Family psychotherapy is a psychological therapy process explicitly done between family members or groups to heal family trauma and disagreements or talk through essential and complex topics together with a mediator (the therapist).
The idea of this type of therapy may seem daunting at first, but it can be helpful for your situation. Here are five ways that family psychotherapy can help you.
It Gives You a Neutral Party
One of the best parts of working with a therapist within family conflict is the possibility of having a neutral party. Therapists are trained to not take sides. They can find positive and negative points in any side of the story and help you decide what’s suitable for you and your family.
Additionally, everything said in the therapy office is protected under HIPAA, which outlines your therapeutic relationship rights and rights to privacy.
You Will All Be Given Space to Speak Your Truths
Since your therapist is a neutral party and their job is to help you come to conclusions and heal, they will be able to give everyone in the family group a chance to speak. Here’s an example of what that might look like for you:
- A mom tells her daughter that she’s feeling hopeless because her daughter is often going out with friends on school nights and coming home at midnight.
- After hearing the mom, the daughter validates why this might be stressful for her.
- The daughter lets her mom know that she feels suffocated at home due to her mom checking in on her a lot. After all, she is 18.
- The mom validates that her daughter is an adult and can understand why she feels controlled.
- The therapist offers some ideas on how both mom and daughter can work on a compromise.
Family therapy dynamics can look different for everyone, but in general, everyone will be allowed to speak as long as it is therapeutic and not abusive.
It Can Heal Generational Trauma
Generational trauma is trauma passed on through parents from their parents that continues to affect the family. This may include certain strict ideals about what family members should do, think, or say.
A therapist can help start a conversation between someone of an older generation and someone of a newer generation to agree on their values and the changing of times.
You Will Learn New Family Coping Skills
Psychotherapy is meant to assist you in giving you the right skills in your own life so that someday you won’t need a therapist to help you through the processes. A family therapist will provide you with specific coping skills that you can practice at home.
It is essential that everyone in the family practice these skills together and reward each other when done right. Family therapy is about finding what works and also what doesn’t. There is a deep tie between this principle and the success of therapy sessions.
You May Learn Something New
If you’re reluctant to go to family therapy, you can try to see it from the lens of an opportunity to learn. You may learn about:
- The feelings of your family members
- Your own feelings
- Your boundaries and the boundaries of others
- Whether or not you want to continue a relationship with certain family members
- How to better cope with distress in your personal life
If you are an adult family member participating in therapy with your child or a minor, remember that their mental capacity is still growing, and children do not react the same way as adults. You will need a trained therapist who can work well with both children and adults.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.