What is family therapy?

Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that can help family members improve communication, resolve conflicts and strengthen relationships. It allows for a safe space for members to meet in a therapeutic and non-judgmental setting to discuss the problems they are facing. 

It aims to ‘reveal and heal’ by permitting and encouraging family members to identify and explore differences or dysfunctional patterns of behaviour, together.

It can take place amongst whole families, partners or significant others, or with children. Problems that can benefit from family therapy can include marital or financial problems, conflicts between family members or the impacts other mental health conditions can have (such as addiction or an eating disorder) on the whole family. 

At Nightingale Hospital, family therapy is integral to the treatment we provide for those with an addiction or eating disorders. These conditions are known as a ‘family disease’, meaning they impact the lives not only of sufferers but their family and friends network. Family involvement is shown to promote more positive treatment outcomes for both addiction and eating disorders, and as such, family therapy is recommended by NICE.

How does family therapy work?

Within therapy, families can expect to examine the way in which they cope with situations and emotions and explore family roles, rules and behaviour patterns. Additionally, members will identify their strengths and weaknesses as a family. 

A counsellor or therapist will carefully guide family members to share their feelings, and express and verbalise their needs within the family structure. In turn, participants will become more aware of how other members of the family experience situations. They will then be supported to develop healthier and more constructive ways of communicating with one another.

It is often a short-term therapy, offered in a limited number of sessions. 

Benefits of family therapy can include:

  • Developing healthy boundaries
  • Defining family roles
  • Improve family dynamics and relationships 
  • Improved communication
  • Addressing dysfunctional relationships
  • Improve problem-solving abilities 

Family therapy at Nightingale Hospital London

At Nightingale Hospital family therapy can be accessed as part of an outpatient, day patient or inpatient programme.

We have a number of family therapists with a breadth of experience to match your individual situation.

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