what is family therapy?

If you are any group that cares about one another and see yourselves as a family then you’re a family to us. Family might include grandparents, children, uncles and aunts, sisters and brothers, cousins, carers and friends.

Family therapy doesn’t mean that all the family needs to attend each therapy session. Sometimes it helps for the identified family group to be with the therapist, or a couple of family members might attend or individual sessions might be arranged e.g. for a child, depending on preference. The aim is to allow all the family - adults, young people and children - to feel comfortable and talk openly.

Talking therapy can help you strengthen family relationships and live better together.

It is possible, with a little help, to improve understanding and find ways forward that work whatever difficulties your family is having. The issues might revolve around family relationships, or around one family member experiencing problems, or changing circumstances (such as loss of income or separation/divorce) might be affecting the whole family.

Family therapy often produces helpful changes so, as a family, you can communicate better, build on strengths and relate better. Your family therapist won’t take sides and will help you talk about difficult issues in a safe space.

communicate better

Your family therapist can help you talk honestly together so that each of you can express your feelings and thoughts and what you would like.

You’ll learn how to

  • talk about the future not the past
  • change criticism to requests
  • ask instead of assume.

build on strengths

Each family member has strengths and positive contributions to make. Sometimes views of each other become stuck and positive aspects of personality or behaviour and changes for the better might be overlooked. In fact sometimes a particular family member might only be seen in a negative way by the rest of the family group, becoming a sort of scapegoat.

Family therapy can help each family member to have

  • a more balanced view of the other
  • focus on positives and encouragement.

This helps you as a group recognise what’s good, how can it be strengthened - not what’s wrong. This change in family perspective helps build a stronger foundation for a better future together.

relate better

Family therapy helps members of the family group appreciate each other’s needs and be different together. You all interact to make the relationships how they are, you can all contribute to making them better.

Therapy can help you

  • stop unhelpful patterns
  • be different together.

The aim of therapy is to develop relationships that are mutually understanding and strong enough to cope with difficulties.


Or maybe self-help is enough for you right now. Try these quick wellbeing tips.