Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Understanding the Role of a Family Therapist - How They Can Help

Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy that addresses the issues that affect your relationships with your family members. Licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT) or other mental health professionals, including social workers, counselors, and psychologists, can provide it.

Marriage and family therapists find their work emotionally rewarding because they can help families improve their relationships with one another. The work often involves educating people about mental health conditions and their treatment.

How They Can Help

In a family therapy session, a mental health professional like Elevated Counseling meets with multiple members of a client’s immediate and extended family unit. This treatment is typically short-term and can be conducted face-to-face or over the phone/video chat.

During the sessions, family therapists assess how different members interact with each other. They may take note of patterns of communication and underlying issues like environmental stressors. They can also help family members work through problems such as financial strain and marital conflict.

During the sessions, family therapists often ask questions, encouraging family members to discuss their feelings and needs. They also offer psychoeducation, which teaches people about mental health conditions and their treatments. This can help families cope with various conditions, including anxiety, mood, and personality disorders. They can also help families deal with grief and coping with the death of a loved one. They can also help families navigate other issues like addiction and domestic violence.

What They Do

Family therapy is group psychotherapy that focuses on improving inter-familial relationships and behaviors. It can include parents and their children, couples in a romantic relationship, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, and kinship caregivers.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) are mental health professionals trained to help couples resolve their issues in a safe, professional environment. They can also help families cope with traumatic events or life changes that affect everyone.

The day-to-day tasks of a family therapist vary depending on their specialization. Still, they all involve helping families find new ways to manage their struggles, conflicts, and challenges. In their sessions, they may use strategies like narrative family therapy, structural-strategic family therapy, and circular questioning. They may also research family-related topics or teach students about their practice. Some LMFTs start their private practices, while others become consultants to help their community improve family dynamics.

What to Expect

For family therapy to work, all family members must attend sessions and be open and honest about their thoughts and feelings. It is also important for everyone to be willing to try new strategies to improve communication and reduce conflict at home.

During the first session, the family therapist will perform an initial assessment of the dynamics of your family. This may involve exploring the different intersections of your identities (e.g., sexual orientation, gender identity, race/ethnicity, socio-economic status) and how these impact your family’s dynamic.

The therapist will then identify the problem or problems that have brought your family to therapy and examine how they work together to solve or cope with them. This can include looking at the different roles of each family member and how these can change during a crisis or conflict. Often, the root of many family issues is communication, one of the main areas addressed in sessions.


A family therapist’s services are generally covered by insurance. Those who do not have insurance can expect to pay out-of-pocket. However, it is worth checking with each therapist to see their rates and to inquire about payment options.

It’s important to find a therapist that fits you and your family. Interviewing a few family therapists to ensure they are the right fit for your needs is also recommended.

Family therapists often find their work emotionally rewarding. They enjoy building bonds with their clients and helping them through difficult times. They also often feel great accomplishment when they help their patients resolve their issues and repair their relationships. Those who have a passion for helping others can explore career options in family therapy, including becoming an assistant to a therapist or researching effective treatment methods. They can also advance their careers by earning a doctorate in clinical psychology or one of its specializations.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. I have used direct text from the website of the company/product I am promoting to facilitate in my review.

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