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Family Therapy Techniques

Charlie S Mar 10, 2020
'One for all, all for one', that's what families are all about. And it goes without saying that, what affects one member affects everyone in the family. Family therapy helps to deal and cope with such problems, not at an individual level but at the family level as well.
"All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." - Leo Tolstoy
When a child is born, he instantly belongs to a family, thus making him a part of the smallest unit of the society. It is his family that introduces him to the larger society. Therefore it is understood that, whatever affects the people whom he is so closely associated with, is bound to affect his overall well-being.
Before starting, let's answer the basic question - What is a Family?
A family is best defined as a principal institution for the socialization of individuals. To put it in simple words, it is the basic unit of a larger society.
It is in every essence the bond, that cannot be broken without breaking oneself. It is the institution which loyally follows the theory of 'Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno' which means 'one for all, all for one'.

Techniques of Family Therapy

The Genogram

Also known as the McGoldrick-Gerson study, the genogram is a technique used to provide a graphic description of the family history. It allows the members of the family to visualize the psychological factors affecting the relationship with the other members.
As a family therapy technique, it is used to study and record patterns of relationship and prominent attributes that affect the occurrence of such patterns. The genogram helps the counselor to direct intervention towards the problem.

Narrative Therapy

This technique provides a conducive environment for respect and value to thrive. The basic principle of this technique is converting the negativity/problem into something that is more acceptable thus creating a positive environment.
Basically, this technique separates the chaff from the grain, in other words, it separates the individual from the problem. This technique, simply put, is a means to take charge of your family story and give it a better ending.

Mediation Technique

This technique relies on the counselor to understand the cultural makeup of the family and the audacity of the problem. It is up to the counselor to device strategies to help the members resolve the conflicts.
It is the duty of the mediator or counselor to device ways to reduce the obstacles in communication while addressing the needs of those affected. The focus is on the dynamics of the problem rather than the dynamics of people affected by the problem.

Strategic Family Therapy

The core foundation of this technique lies in the belief that the family is the base or the 'bedrock' of a child's development.
This technique employs a pragmatic approach to solve an apparent problem. It is a process-oriented technique which lays emphasis on the nature of interaction and its apparent consequence on the individual's psyche.
While most other techniques stress on the past situation that caused the problem, the strategic technique stresses on the present. This technique seeks to identify the symptoms behind the cause of the problem and resolves to fix them.

Why Family Therapy?

Wouldn't you agree that, every family has its unique method of communication and bonding? And it is this quality that gives each family its identifiable personality. It is the sole reason why psychologists believe that, considering the family as an entire unit is bound to help when treating a member showing symptoms of any given problem.
For them, treating the family as a whole is equivalent to getting to the root cause of the ailment rather than merely skimming the surface of the problem.
A branch of psychotherapy, the concept of family therapy is said to have originated in the 19th century. Family therapy, essentially is based on the belief that, every minor problem affecting a member affects the others as well.
It works to nurture change and development, and believes that the relationship between the members of the same bloodline is equally important while determining the psychological well-being of the family.
Through family therapy, the therapist makes each of the members aware of their role in the family as well as help them develop strategies to overcome/resolve problems and strained relationships. Simply put, family therapy is the bridge over troubled waters, that helps you get across safely to the other side of the shore.

Importance and Benefits

As mentioned earlier, family therapy is all about helping the family members resolve their conflicts, thus reducing the apparent stress levels. It is beneficial in the following situations:
Conflict and relationship problems between a husband and wife.
Signs of behavioral problems in children.
Problems in adjusting with other members of the family.
Psychological problems/depression.
When a family member suffers from drug or alcohol abuse.
Helps cope with certain illnesses and health issues.
Finally to conclude, I'd like to quote the verse that says, "Leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." - Matthew 5:24 (American King James Version). Undoubtedly, when you are in unison with those around you, you automatically feel at peace with yourself.