Relationships offer a source of support and comfort. They can also be a frequent source of stress and conflict.
When health issues, behavioural problems or mental illnesses disrupt relationships between you and your spouse, partner, children or parents, family (or marital) therapy may help.
Family therapy focuses on understanding, changing and improving the way family members interact with each other.
Family therapists provide the same mental health services as other therapists, simply with a different focus — treating individuals within the context of relationships. Family therapy is often short-term, usually lasting less than a year, and often just three to five months.
Treatment is intended to identify specific concerns or conflicts, assess your family functioning and set specific goals for resolving issues. It usually explores family roles, rules, goals and stages of development in order to spot issues that may contribute to conflict and stress. It may address the family’s behavioural patterns, as well as the ability to solve problems, express emotions and communicate with each other. Therapy assesses possible family strengths, such as concern for one another, and weaknesses, such as inability to confide in each other.