Why Family Therapy?
At Neurobehavioral Institute of Austin, our specially trained psychologists approach concerns from a systems level because the most intimate and influential system is that of the immediate family. Families can be a powerful place to build confidence, compassion and assurance; however, they can also produce uncertainty, instability and powerlessness when roles are out of balance.
Family members elicit and react to each other’s thoughts, feelings and actions. The outcome of this connectivity and interdependence is that one person’s functioning has a profound impact on the functioning of the others in the family. As a result, change in one family member, whether positive or negative, necessitates shifting and change amongst the other family members in order to maintain cohesion and balance. Family systems approach can not only help a family understand how they function as a whole, but also understand the adaptive and maladaptive coping mechanisms that the members have developed for managing familial issues. Family therapy also shifts the focus from “fixing the identified patient” to treating and improving the family as a whole.
What is involved and expected?
Family therapy employs techniques and exercises from various therapeutic approaches depending on the specific difficulties the family presents with, including but not limited to cognitive and behavioral therapies, interpersonal therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy. Throughout treatment, the psychologist observes familial interactions and conflicts, and works collaboratively with the family to identify problematic relational and communication patterns and replace dysfunctional behaviors with healthy alternatives. Sessions are conducted at regular intervals, whether weekly, biweekly or monthly. They can involve all members of the family depending on the issue at hand, and the participants can vary from session to session. It is expected that all who attend actively participate in the process.
Who can benefit?
All families benefit, as engagement in family therapy seeks to resolve challenges, improve communication skills, and strengthen the family unit. Typical issues of concern addressed in family therapy include marital difficulties, parent-child conflicts, arguments between siblings, and the impact of a physical and/or psychological illness on the family. Additionally, research indicates that involving parents and families is particularly effective when the following conditions are present: ADHD, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, trauma, disordered eating, self-harm, personality dysfunction, and substance abuse.