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Family therapy

Family therapy is a type of psychological counseling (psychotherapy) that helps family members improve communication and resolve conflicts.

Family therapy is often short term. It may include all family members or just those able or willing to participate. Your specific treatment plan will depend on your family's situation. Family therapy sessions can teach you skills to deepen family connections and get through stressful times, even after you're done going to therapy sessions.


Why it's done How you prepare What you can expect Results

Family therapy can help you improve troubled relationships with your spouse, children, or other family members. You may address specific issues such as marital or financial problems, conflict between parents and children, or the impact of substance abuse or a mental illness on the entire family.

Your family may pursue family therapy along with other types of mental health treatment, especially if one of you has a mental illness or addiction that also requires individual therapy or rehabilitation treatment. For example:

  • Family therapy can help family members cope if a relative has schizophrenia — but the person who has schizophrenia should continue with his or her individualized treatment plan, which may include medications, one-on-one counseling or other treatment.
  • In the case of addiction, the family can attend family therapy while the person who has an addiction participates in residential treatment. Sometimes the family may participate in family therapy even if the addicted person hasn't sought out his or her own treatment.

Family therapy can be useful in any family situation that causes stress, grief, anger or conflict. It can help you and your family members understand one another better and bring you closer together.


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