What is Family Therapy?

Family therapy is a type of counseling that helps families deal with conflict mediation, communication, anger management, and other relational skills. It focuses on the family system, not just on individual family members.

Family therapy can help families better relate to each other, resolve difficult issues, and cope with big life changes. It can also help family members understand and navigate each other's emotions, behaviors, and problems.

Family therapy is an essential element to our mental health treatment programs. When we address the root causes of mental health challenges by bringing the family together, we can identify a more sustainable path to healing. Increased family participation in the therapeutic process is a core value at Charlie Health.

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Family therapy can be beneficial for a wide range of issues, including:

Behavioral issues
Communication problems
Death of a loved one
Parenting issues
Problems between siblings
Divorce, separation, or marital problems
Stressful events or major life transitions (new stepparent, new school, etc.)
Emotional issues related to subtance abuse

Family therapy typically involves meeting with a therapist as a family, but can also include individual sessions.

Family therapy provides each individual with a safe space to share their thoughts and feelings. A therapist will help facilitate the discussion and offer support and guidance, but ultimately it’s up to the family to work through their issues as a unit. After each session, families should prepare to take time to reflect on what they’ve learned together.

How Does Family Therapy Work?

Family therapy is typically a short-term treatment option, and sessions are usually scheduled once a week.

Behavioral Techniques

Skills and psychoeducational training can help families address problems one at a time. Role-playing, for example, is a way for one family member to learn where another is coming from in a specific situation. 

Psychodynamic Techniques

This skill allows the family unit to move beyond actions and dive deep into their emotions. Behind every conflict is a source of pain that needs tending to. Your therapist can help your family explore new ways to understand each other’s feelings.

Structural Techniques

Families often struggle over expectations, boundaries, and family hierarchy, or power dynamics. By addressing issues related to the structural make up of the unit as a whole, family therapy may help redraw more appropriate and supportive boundaries.

What can you Expect During Family Therapy?

The length of a family's time in therapy together will depend on their specific needs.

When families are stuck in conflict, there is rarely a simple answer or explanation. All relationships can be complicated; relationships with multiple people living under one roof can sometimes feel impossible. But the job of your family therapist is to help you develop a plan to address these issues.

Your therapist will start your first session by asking questions to get a better sense of the family as a whole, as well as any prevalent mental health issues or other environmental factors that might be contributing to conflict. From there, your family therapist will offer ways in which your family can learn to better communicate and resolve conflicts. No one struggles with their mental health or with their family relationships alone.

To heal fully means to heal together. At Charlie Health, our family therapy sessions are included in every client's unique mental health treatment plan, making both attendance and participation simpler for the entire family.

What are the Benefits of Family Therapy?


Improve communication skills


Practice conflict resolution


Learn how to actively listen


Strengthen bonds and encourage family harmony

It's important to note: family therapy is not a solution to domestic violence. If you, your family, or someone you love is dealing with domestic violence, please call the Domestic Violence Hotline, 24/7, at 800-799-7233.

Ultimately, family therapy can help families better understand and support one another. Families that participate in family therapy often report feeling closer to one another and that they’re able to better cope with the challenges that life throws their way.

Individualized support creates a private space for clients to process their experiences, challenges, and discoveries. Charlie Health's mental health treatment programs combine family therapy, supported groups, and individual therapy to help you on your journey toward sustainable and effective healing.

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By matching you or your loved one with individual therapists who specialize in your needs, you can explore and navigate your thoughts in a safe and confidential space.