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Top 7 Approaches of Family Therapy

No family is perfect, despite outward appearances. However, some family systems consisting of nuclear families, couples, children, and significant others have deeply rooted issues that they cannot overcome, regardless of their efforts. For these people, participating in family therapy is an excellent way to improve interpersonal relationships and move toward a more fulfilling future.

People often assume that this form of therapy is formulaic, but several family therapy approaches exist. No two family dynamics are identical, so it’s necessary to have multiple practices and treatments to address the unique needs of each member of the family. A mental health professional leading the therapy sessions determines the best approach to help and guide a struggling family.

If you and your family members are ready to work toward improving communication and addressing mental health concerns, consider the leading family therapy approaches below.


The term “psychoeducation” refers to the education of individuals and their families about their mental health conditions. Family therapy with psychoeducation supports and empowers people experiencing mental health crises and their loved ones who might not understand their condition.

Unfortunately, mental health problems carry the stigma that mental illnesses are negative and prevent people from living happy lives. Sometimes, families don’t know how to support and care for loved ones experiencing mental health issues, leading to additional problems like discrimination and prejudice.

Psychoeducation helps families conceptualize their loved ones’ mental illness and shows how their struggles impact their families. A therapist practicing psychoeducation aims to provide relevant information about the condition to the family, provide necessary training and self-help support, and offer a safe place for everyone to vent.

Strategic Family Therapy

As one of the more common family therapy approaches, strategic therapy effectively combines various psychotherapy practices. During these sessions, the family therapist uncovers family problems and helps design a specific approach to each issue.

Unlike other forms of therapy, strategic family therapy doesn’t focus on childhood experiences, inner thoughts, or mental health issues that derive from a past experience. Instead, the treatment creates solutions for problems. Regardless of why a problem is present, it is the goal of a strategic family therapist to help families address and solve their conflicts using a five-stage treatment plan:

  • Social stage
  • Problem stage
  • Interactional stage
  • Goal-setting stage
  • Task-setting stage

Transgenerational Therapy

Sometimes, family issues can span generations. Transgenerational therapists assess the interactions between family members across two or more generations. The mental health professional’s observations allow them to understand the family’s core issues, which can help them understand and explain the family’s current problems.

Transgenerational therapists work by understanding how a family dealt with past crises. Insight into the past can help them predict future challenges that could keep the family in a dysfunctional cycle. The practice also shows how a family develops behavior patterns in response to stress that obstructs healthy relationship development and causes predictable problems.

Transgenerational therapy is usually part of a treatment plan that involves other family therapy approaches. It helps counselors and therapists frame issues the family discusses during the sessions.

Systemic Therapy

Systemic therapy is a part of family systems therapy, a type of psychotherapy that helps people resolve problems within the context of their family. Family systems therapy is prevalent because most individual issues stem from family dynamics, stressors, and expectations.

System therapy works under the umbrella of family systems therapy by evaluating the relationships and interactions between family members. The purpose of the treatment is to help everyone address issues they have and move on from them. This form of family therapy allows everyone to explore their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment.

Structural Family Therapy

Structural family therapy focuses on a family’s structure and how each member interacts within it. Developed by Salvador Minuchin, this therapy type is one of today’s most dominant family therapy interventions.

The theory surrounding structural family therapy is that familial dysfunction can create stress and mental health issues for family members. According to Minuchin and this family therapy approach, a well-functioning family has positive social interactions.

The goal of structural family therapy is to acknowledge and address how a family relates to each other to improve communication. A family therapist specializing in this therapy treatment works with each family member to identify dysfunctional aspects of their family system and adapt adhesive family attributes that suit the needs of the household.

Relationships counselling

Developing and maintaining relationships are often challenging, regardless of whether the dynamic involves a parent and child, two spouses, or two significant others. Basic day-to-day problems can add complications and stress to strained relationships, which is why relationship counselling is sometimes necessary.

Problems that could lead to stressed relationships within a family could include financial troubles, infidelity, poor communication, mental health issues, and emotional distancing. Some couples may experience a lack of trust or cultural differences that affect how they manage their shared household.

Relationship counselling is ideal for two people who want to work on their problems to determine if they can improve their relationship or be better without each other. Even people in healthy relationships can benefit from relationship counselling because it helps improve communication skills and increases the bond between two individuals.

Communication Therapy

Communication issues are a dominant cause of family issues. Personal experiences, perceptions of reality, culture, religion, trauma, mental health issues, and geographic location can influence how a person listens or talks about their emotions. Sessions involving communication therapy will focus on how a couple or family communicates.

A lack of effective communication between family members can be detrimental to relationships. Communication therapy addresses communication issues and teaches people how to open lines of communication and actively listen.

Though this list includes the top family therapy approaches, there are more ways to improve family relationships with the help of an experienced mental health professional. They can help you and your loved ones explore various types of family therapy to find the best ways to improve everyone’s mental and emotional well-being. Reach out to a psychotherapist today for family counselling Perth.

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