Like any group of people, families are most functional when there's consistent, open, and shared communication. A balance of give and take. A practice of active listening and of being heard. And a commitment to a shared vision of what being a family is all about.
Family therapy strives to help families build skills and understandings. Additionally, family sessions can be targeted to improve communication, resolve conflicts, and strengthen family relationships. Family therapy can help you improve troubled relationships with your spouse, children, or other family members. You may also address specific issues such as marital or financial problems, conflict between parents and children, or the impact of substance abuse or a mental illness on the entire family.
Family therapy is often short-term. It may include all family members or just those able and willing to participate. Your specific treatment plan will depend on your family's situation. Family therapy sessions can teach you skills to deepen family connections and get through stressful times, even after therapy is completed.
Therapists who provide family therapy usually have a graduate degree in clinical psychology, social work, or counseling, and are typically licensed. Family therapy doesn't automatically resolve family conflicts or make an unpleasant situation go away. But it can help you and your family members understand one another better, while providing you with skills to cope with challenging situations in a more effective way, strengthening bonds in the process, rather than eroding them.