Family therapy, also referred to as family counseling, is a type of psychotherapy that involves several members or all members of a nuclear, blended, or extended family. The therapist, or team of therapists, conducts multiple sessions in an effort to assist families manage important issues and stressors that may interfere with the functioning of the family and the home environment.
In a therapy session, therapists seek to analyze the process of family interaction and communication as a whole and do not take sides with specific family members. Therapists who work as a team can model new behaviors for the family through their interactions with each other during a session.
The goal of family therapy is to help family members improve communication, solve family problems, understand and handle special family situations (for example, death, serious physical or mental illness, parenting, or child and adolescent issues), and create a better functioning home environment.
Based on Family Systems Theory, family therapy views the family as a living organism rather than just the sum of its individual members. Family therapy evaluates family members in terms of their position or role within the family. Challenges, stressors, or problems are addressed by changing the way the family system works rather than trying to fix a specific member.