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Family Therapy

Family therapy (Family and Systemic Psychotherapy) aims to help people in close relationships, such as families or couples, to develop understanding and deal more effectively with the problems they are experiencing.

Family therapy is frequently used to support families and couples that are trying to help a relative dealing with a mental health problem. The therapy can be used to establish how the problem is affecting each member of the family, not only the sufferer, providing opportunity to discuss emotions and difficult thoughts, in a safe and confidential setting.

The therapist will encourage the family to draw on the strengths and commitments shown and possessed by each member of the group and to build on their communication skills. Aiming to develop a new understanding towards the issue and further create sense of unity, that the problem is not being experienced or dealt with by a lone individual.

 

Who is family therapy suitable for?

Family therapy can be used for a range of difficulties which might lead families to seek help, such as coping with a long-term illness or helping a family member to deal with a mental health problem. It can help in dealing with issues, crises or losses that a family may be having difficulty dealing with on their own. 

An individual that has been referred for family therapy will be encouraged to bring along anyone they feel will help in understanding and dealing with their problem, such as grandparents, children or sometimes close friends.

We might also offer to work with couples and occasionally individuals when this is appropriate. 

 

What happens during family therapy?

Initial session: The initial session will be used as an opportunity for the therapist to get to know the family, gain an understanding of their history, and work together with them to discuss how the therapist may be able to help with their current problems.

Length of therapy: The number of sessions a family require is unique to the individuals and their issues; whilst some may need 10 sessions, others may need more or less. This will be assessed during a review session, to consider how things have been going and decide the best way to proceed. Family work tends to be more spread out than other therapies, so it may be that meetings are held fortnightly or monthly.

During a session: Family therapists often work as a team, this ensures that all family members views and feelings are heard. Often a one way screen is used during the session. This allows the therapist to sit in the room with the family and other team members to observe from behind the screen. This process ensures that the therapist does not miss any details or information. The session may also be recorded using video or recording equipment, providing both the family and the therapist with a chance to look back on previous sessions. All of these things will be discussed with the family or couple during their initial meeting.

 

Contact

Service Lead: Nigel Smith, Couples Systemic Psychotherapist

Psychotherapy Department
First Floor
Centre Court
73 Exeter Street
Plymouth
PL4 0AH

Tel: (01752) 435510