Family Therapy

What is Family Therapy?

Family therapy is an approach that looks at relationships between people and works on changing how people get on with one another. Sometimes they meet with everyone in a family together at other times it is more useful to meet with just a few people. There are several reasons why it can be useful to meet together as a family;

  • Difficulties experienced by one family member usually affect everyone in the family. It can be useful to think about this and to talk about what each of you can do to lead the sort of lives that you would like to.
  • It can give you all a chance to look at ways that you can help each other.
  • When all the family come together this can help each person to take some responsibility for making the changes that everyone wants.

Who is in the Family Therapy Team?

The team is drawn from people within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. We have different professional backgrounds so bring a range of skills to our work with families. Some of us are trained as Mental Health Nurses, Psychologists, Doctors, Art Therapists, Specialist Social Workers and Family Therapists

How do we work with you?

There are usually between 3 and 5 people in the team. Usually 2 of these will be in the room with you, and the others work from behind a one-way screen. It is their job to help the therapists in the room. They might come up with useful questions or ideas to help to keep our meetings on track. You’ll get a chance to meet them so you’ll see that they are part of the team and not hidden. Sometimes everyone might swap rooms. This would mean that the family and the lead therapists sit in the observation room. This would give you a chance to hear the ideas of the rest of the team. People often find it helpful to hear other points of view.

The team may also ask for your permission to video - record sessions. It can help us to look back at meetings to think about what we can talk about next time. Sometimes we might ask your permission to video for research or teaching / training purposes. Whatever the reason, this should be clearly explained to you. We cannot show a tape of your family to anyone else unless we have your written agreement. You are welcome to say no to this. Saying no to video recording would not affect our work with you.

How long will meetings go on for?

Appointments last about an hour. The team will often take a short break to think about what you have been telling us.
We will then share some ideas and suggestions with you and discuss whether we should meet again.

What will we talk about?

The first time we meet you we usually like to find out a little about you. We like to find out about the bits in your family that are going well as well as what you’d like to be different. Our main job will be to find out about what you would like to be different. By the end of that first meeting we like to make a plan with you about what we are going to do next (this might include what you want to change, how often you want to meet up and who will be coming next time).

More information is available on the Association for Family Therapy website


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