What is Family Therapy?

Family therapy is also called systemic psychotherapy, or family psychotherapy.  It is based on systems theory, and explores the relationships between people in the context of their family and social networks, rather than the internal world of the individual

Family therapy is an evidence-based approach for a variety of psychological issues, and is recommended in NICE guidelines (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).    

I explore patterns and beliefs systems held around a particular problem, or dilemma, in search of solutions, or of different ways of thinking about a problem. 

There is no right or wrong way of thinking about relationships.  Instead, I work with you to find a favourable outcome that ‘fits’ for your family

Family therapy need not be an alternative to other forms of intervention such as mental health services or other psychotherapies, as long as there is clear communication between professionals and your family.  

Why work with families?

Many people in their lives have experiences that can cause significant anxiety and stress.  At such times their relationships may become disrupted and peace of mind disturbed.  This may be after an illness, or redundancy, or separation.  It may be after a life cycle change such as the arrival of a baby,  children growing up, or relatives becoming more dependent. 

This anxiety and stress might be experienced by one individual in a family, or as part of the relationship between partners or between parents and children.

Many families manage these times of stress themselves.  However there may be times people find it helpful to visit a family therapist to have different kinds of conversations with their family members, and to explore different solutions to their problems

One of the strengths of working therapeutically as a whole family, is that you have the opportunity to hear each other talk in a different way.  I might hear a parent saying to their child, “I didn’t know you thought that”, or someone of their partner, “we don’t usually listen to each other like this”, which helps to let me know the work is useful.