4 Types of Family Therapies

What Is Family Therapy?


Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that is used when dealing with couples and families.  It emphasizes family relationships as an important factor in psychological health. As such, this type of therapy focuses on family problems, which are seen in relation to family interactions, instead of based only on individual members of a unit. Family therapists usually focus on the interactions between family members and how those interactions may foster issues. For many family seeking help, understand that family therapy is frequently short-term and may be used in addition to other types of treatment.

What problems can family therapy help solve?

Family therapy can be useful when you encounter the following issues:

  • Family relationships and changes in family life
  • Adult mental health
  • Parenting issues
  • Couple relationships
  • Trauma
  • Work stress
  • Parenting skills
  • Chronic health problems, such as asthma or cancer
  • Supporting family members through separation, mediation and divorce
  • Child and adolescent behavior
  • Emotional disorders including anxiety, depression, loss and grief
  • Anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders
  • Supporting family members in step-family life
  • Emotional abuse or violence
  • Financial problems
  • Self-harm
  • Drug, alcohol, and other substance misuse

What Are the Most Common Types of Family Therapy?

What are the common types of family therapy?
There are four types of family therapy most often utilized by professionals: supportive family therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic ideas and systemic family therapy.

1. Supportive Family Therapy

Supportive Family Therapy is often used to help family members expression their feelings regarding a problem that is affecting the entire family. This type of family therapy provides a safe and open environment in which everyone can express who they feel. This is an opportunity for families to get together, and openly talk about the issues plaguing them, as well as an opportunity for the therapist to offer practical advice.

2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques attempt to change the ways people think or behave in order to reduce or get rid of the problem. The therapist may assign each individual family member with homework tasks to complete or specific behavioral programs might be drawn up.

3. Psychodynamic ideas

Psychodynamic ideas used in family therapy tends to look more into the individual’s own unconscious (sometimes called subconscious) minds. This type of therapy attempts to reduce problem(s) by uncovering the underlying problems. It is the hope of many therapists who use this method that, by providing the individuals with the real reasons for strife, family members will be able to deal with—and work through—their difficulties more successfully.

4. Systemic Family Therapy

Systemic Family Therapy puts emphasis on the entire family’s feelings. It attempts to identify the problems within a family dynamic, as well as the ideas and attitudes of the entire family to uncover what may be going on with the family as whole. Once the therapist has a full understanding of these areas, he or she may attempt to shift the problem(s), attitudes, relationships, to a position that is more beneficial, less damaging, or simply more realistic.

Get Help with Understanding and Solving Family Issues

At North Brooklyn Marriage and Family Therapy, our team of expert therapists can help you and your family members pinpoint the specific problems and execute a plan of action that can fix the turmoil. Contact us today at either our Greenpoint or Williamsburg location and let us help get you and your family back on track.