Family Therapy: Reasons to Seek Treatment & What to Expect

Family Therapy: Reasons to Seek Treatment & What to Expect

By Jackie Molan

Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy aimed at improving communication and relationships within a family unit. The therapeutic environment offers a safe and confidential space for family members to express thoughts and feelings that they might otherwise be uncomfortable sharing. Family therapy is usually about 12 sessions in length, allowing the therapist to follow a method with a clear end goal that is understood by each family member. Even though this is a short-term type of therapy, it can teach skills and coping strategies that can be used to remedy family problems even after the course of treatment has ended.

Family therapy is typically sought out by families experiencing one or more of the following issues:

  • Parent/child conflict
  • Child behavioral problems
  • Financial stress
  • Grief
  • Anger issues
  • Communication difficulties
  • A family member’s substance abuse or mental illness (depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc.) is negatively impacting the rest of the family

It is important to know what to expect when starting family therapy. During the first session, the therapist will likely want to meet with the family as a group in order to gather information about the issue and see how family roles and dynamics operate. In the subsequent sessions, they may sometimes choose to meet with each family member individually to focus more on personal considerations. Overall, you can expect to gain the skills to:

  • Identify strengths and weaknesses within the family
  • Learn to effectively express emotions with family members
  • Analyze existing factors that may contribute to both present and future conflicts, such as family roles

Family stressors can turn into damaging problems if they are not addressed in a timely fashion. Family therapy provides the tools needed to restore a dysfunctional family to a more healthy, unified, and empathetic unit.

If you or someone you know is seeking family therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit



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