The approach I will use when working with you and your family is called Systemic Family Therapy. It’s an approach developed during the last 60-70 years. Initially it was developed by Psychiatrist that were struggling to help their patients with their mental health problems. Later on it was decided by psychologist and Psychiatrist like the best way to help individuals with their emotional and relational issues.. How can something with such a complicated name be of any use to your family? Let me try to explain how it works.
Systemic Family Therapy
The term “system” originates from the Greek term syst-ema, which means to “place together.” Systemic relates to the study of things based on their relationships. A systemic therapy aims to understand and improve individuals by focusing in their relationships with others. Think about you with your mum, and think about you with your children, and with your friends. You are the same person, but the relationship with each of them is different. All those relationships help you to be the person you are and encourage you to grow; to become a better person. But sometimes one or maybe more of those relationships make you unhappy. If a relationship is keeping us unhappy, we eventually do one of two things. Either we move away from it, or we try to make it better.
Sometimes this unhappiness can be obvious, because it might be provoking disruptive or negative behaviour in one or more members of the “system”. Depression, constant family fighting, adolescent risky behaviour, anxiety, substance abuse, and many others are our ways of showing that something is going not quite right in our lives. When those symptoms appear in a family, and they persist in time, unless there is an external event that modifies the situation, the family relationships may eventually break up.
Studies on distressed individuals have shown that working on their relationships can produce significant improvements for the individuals involved. And these changes are easier to achieve and last longer than with individual therapy. Success in improving someone´s life is most easily achieved when the whole family of that person is involved and committed to the process.
So what types of family can benefit from this therapy?
A family is a group of people that share an space and exchange experiences and emotions with each other. Nowadays, families are no longer defined only by blood or marriage. Individuals choose their ways; divorces, separations, adoptions, homosexual marriages, permanent foster care arrangements are just the legal figures that try to reflect the changes in society.
So, what is it then that makes us consider a group of people a family? Love, care for each other and reciprocal support would be the glue that keeps family members together.
Any family can benefit from therapy if they are going through a difficult period in their lives and they are finding themselves stacked in interaction patterns that keep them unhappy