Family Systems Therapy

Family systems therapy, also known as family counseling, is a branch of psychotherapy focusing on fostering change and development in families and couples in intimate relationships. It promotes familial relationships as important to psychological health and it promotes changes in terms of the forms of interaction between and among family members. Though there are multiple schools of family therapy, a common belief they all share is that involving family members in solutions to therapeutic issues is beneficial, regardless of whether the patient views the matter as an individual or family issue.

During the early years of family systems therapy’s development, the “family” was considered only in terms of immediate blood relations. Consequently, it has since evolved to define family more broadly in terms of supportive, long-term relationships – even between those not related by blood or marriage.

Family systems therapy uses a number of psychotherapeutic techniques to influence changes in families.

  • Systemic coaching
  • Psychoeducation
  • Reality therapy
  • Relationship education

are only a few of the more common forms of counseling employed by family systems therapists.

In Family Systems therapy, meetings often consist of multiple family members gathering at the same time, allowing the therapist to observe relationships and interaction patterns among the family. These interactions often closely mirror ones found in the home, despite the introduction of the therapist into the setting. Family therapists are frequently more interested in maintaining relationships and solving problems rather than identifying causes for the issue or issues at hand because some families or family members might perceive analysis as looking for ways of placing blame on one or more family members.