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The Big Picture of Family Therapy

man and woman watching a baseball game through a fenceBeing in a family is complicated. Relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, siblings and siblings, etc. change over time, and sometimes it gets pretty tense.

At Alpine Recovery Lodge, we counsel families and help them maintain their relationships even when the tension rises to the point where doing so is difficult.

Interested in family therapy? Here’s everything you need to know:

How Does Family Therapy Work?

Exactly how a family therapy session goes down depends on the preferences of your particular counselor.

Most family therapists use one of the following four methods:

  1. Bowenian: Created by psychiatrist Murray Bowen (hence the name), this method focuses on the concepts of triangulation (when one family member has trouble communicating with another, they bring in a third family member to either complain about it or have them act as a surrogate) and differentiation (learning how to be less emotional, more rational when dealing with family).
  1. Structural: Focuses on how power and responsibility are distributed throughout the family, and how this affects relationships. For example, in a healthy family, parents are both perceived by children as reliable authority figures and yet also warm, nurturing presences – that can be a tricky balance to achieve.
  1. Systemic: Focuses on the fact that much of family communication in done on a subconscious level. The therapist takes a neutral, observatory stance on most issues, but also jumps in to point out how certain rituals may contribute to undesired behavior and strained relationships.
  1. Strategic: The counselor will observe the relationships and power dynamics of the family, listen to everyone’s thoughts and concerns, and then assign what are essentially “homework” assignments to test those relationships and make everyone more empathetic of each other family member’s struggles.

When is it Necessary?

A number of different events and situations call for family therapy, such as:

  • Domestic violence
  • Divorce
  • Substance abuse
  • Death in the family
  • Addition to the family (birth, adoption, grandparents moving in, etc.)

Also, there doesn’t have to be any event like those listed above to make family therapy necessary. Relationships can become distant and communication difficult without any interesting drama.

Sometimes, you realize a relationship is unsatisfactory, and you don’t even know what happened or when it all went wrong.

The skilled counselors at Alpine Recovery Lodge will help you find the root of the problem and mend broken bonds.

If you have any questions about family therapy, feel free to contact us and ask.