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Family Systems Therapy

Family is a crucial part of our development; it impacts our lives from the beginning to the end.

Family may include members who are blood-related, adopted, step or blended families, foster families, close friends, or community members. This family shapes us into who we are; it impacts every area of our lives, from how we think, learn, and behave to our vocabulary, habits, and conversations to our traditions and how we see and experience the world.

The family can have a significant impact on an individual’s cognitive, social, and emotional development. This development begins when we are born and with the family we are born into. When we are taught how to sustain good relationships and are part of a supportive, healthy family dynamic, we will then tend to follow, learn, and thrive by creating stronger relationships with others as we develop into adulthood. However, if we are born into an unhealthy, dysfunctional family that struggles to connect and may experience conflict, abuse, neglect, or other forms of dysfunction, we will often repeat this pattern throughout our lives and struggle to connect. These patterns are not permanent, and we can learn to adapt and change the habits we have been taught.

It is normal to experience some dysfunction in your family; however, it is how you learn and adapt that is key to maintaining a healthy family dynamic. Family therapy can help families address and overcome negative patterns and behaviours, and help to build healthier, more supportive relationships.

What is family therapy?

Family therapy is here to allow a safe space to address any conflicts or help through transitional periods, major life changes, or challenges, as well as mental and behavioural health problems. Family therapy is based on the premise that families are systems with each member having a role, and if something impacts one part of the system, i.e., someone in the family, it impacts all members as the system can no longer function at full capacity. Family therapy seeks to gain a deep understanding of your family and how it functions in order to facilitate family healing and development. Family therapy may use techniques from numerous therapies, such as cognitive, interpersonal, and behavioural therapy.

If the family were a boat, it would be a canoe that makes no progress unless everyone paddles.

Letty Cottin Pogrebin
What does a therapy session look like?
During your first appointment, your therapist will likely ask you questions about your family, your family’s difficulties, and your family’s ambitions. The therapist may inquire about your personal background, relationships, and subsystems within the family, as well as your communication style and goals for treatment. Each member of the family is given the opportunity to voice their views and feelings about how the problem is affecting them. The family works together to help the individual in need and works to analyse their many roles in the family, learning to switch roles if necessary, and discovering ways to support and assist one another with the goal of repairing family bonds and developing a healthy family dynamic. The sessions will examine the advantages and drawbacks of the family dynamic as well as identify shared goals for pursuing resolutions. Additional sessions aim to better understand a family’s difficulties and relationships. It allows families to go deeper into addressing their needs with the help of a confident, guiding, and sympathetic therapist.
What is the difference between individual and family therapy?
Individual therapy focuses on an individual’s specific needs and concerns within the context of their family dynamics and relationships. Individual therapy involves the therapist working one-on-one with a client to address personal issues, emotions, and behaviours.

In contrast, family therapy involves all members of the family engaging in therapy together. The emphasis is on better communication, conflict resolution, and acknowledging any family-wide issues or concerns. The therapist works with the family as a whole to assist them in understanding and supporting one another.

Some of the advantages of family therapy include:

  • Increased understanding among family members of each other’s perspectives and experiences
  • Enhancing the ability of family members to support each other and how to set healthy boundaries
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Improving problem-solving skills and coping strategies
  • Empathy
  • increased sense of cooperation and compromise between family members
  • improved stress management skills
  • Addressing and managing individual family members’ behavioural, emotional, or mental health issues

We welcome hearing from you either via the website, a phone call, or an email so that we can provide the support you need to heal and flourish.

Practice Location

Book a session to see our Brisbane psychologists today. We are located at 5/6 Qualtrough Street, Woolloongabba. Designated parking is available onsite. A variety of public transport options are available nearby – see www.translink.com.au. Counselling can also be provided via Telehealth counselling (video) or phone if this is your preferred option.

Other Therapies

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Learning the skills to accept the things that are out of your control.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Exploring the relationship between thoughts, feelings and actions and examine how these influence the current situation.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

A powerful tool to helping the brain process painful memories and facilitate the return to normal healing.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Examine unconscious motivations and influences on current problems.

Schema Therapy

Identify, restructure, and transform maladaptive patterns from the past in order to enhance present-day wellbeing.