Family therapy, also referred to as the Systemic Therapy, has been found in the early 50 by American practitioners (Minuchin, Bowen, Haley, etc.) as a reaction to institutionalised children and adults, in attempt to involve whole family in the progressive recovery of individuals.
It is understood that families get to the crisis point due to maladaptive interaction between each person in the family or relationship. The aim of therapy is to work on family systemic misbalance by encouraging family members , across generations to listen, accept and understand one another. Generally family therapists will aim to adopt an approach that does not take sides or blame individuals, but instead engages families to discuss the problems that are putting a strain on their relationships.
Common problems that a family therapist will work with include stressful and traumatic life events such as: divorce and separation, illness or death of a loved one, and transitional stages of family development that can cause pain and upset. Alcohol and substance dependency, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, anxiety, personality issues, depression, ADHD, eating and food issues, work and school-related problems, psychosexual difficulties and parent-child conflict can also be explored through Family Therapy.
Essentially, by evaluating these issues and providing support, family therapy can help families and individuals to better understand how their family function, identify strengths and weaknesses within the family system, set goals and devise strategies to resolve problem, develop their communication skills and strengthen the entire family unit.