Family therapy can be for anyone who wants better interaction or to resolve difficult issues with various members of their family. It can involve couples with their children of any age, or extended family wherever there is something that has potentially caused problems in any of the relationships.
People will enter family therapy with a number of different goals or hopes to accomplish. Sometimes people want to reconcile relationships that have become distant or when strong disagreements occur they have not been able to successfully talk about and work through. Other times people will come for help to make necessary and difficult decisions that they cannot seem to make on their own around important issues such as dealing with elderly parents or with a member of the family with an addiction that is affecting them and those around them. Other people will come to help communicate better with each other regardless of what their concerns are.
Part of the process is to help people feel that they are in a safe supportive environment to work out issues that have been important for them. A goal of the therapy is to let people be able to speak to each other in a reasonable manner, feel that they have been heard and that everybody's ideas or issues have been talked about.
Another part of the process is to look at why issues have not been able to be resolved in the past to create the desired change and learn a more successful way of dealing with the issues in the future.
Often strategies will involve gaining insight into why the concerns are happening in the first place. This may involve people understanding issues in a new way or learning things they had not understood before about how they are others come across. Commonly there are some strong emotions that make more logical understanding difficult. The therapy will help address those emotions to try and relieve some of the intensity and make it easier for people to hear each other objectively. New skills and strategies can be employed to help people communicate in a more successful manner. Other strategies such as problem-solving or behaviour management tools are examples of a number of strategies that may be employed.
Sometime there may be some negative past history with each other that will need to be looked at and addressed. Other times people will have bad experiences with others outside the family that may affect how they see the current situation. Both of these situations can be looked at and help given to resolve whatever has happened in the past so that people are less affected by those events in the present and can start to improve their relationships going forward in the future.