Family Therapy

Family and Systemic Psychotherapy, also known as Family Therapy, helps those in close relationships to better understand and support each other. Therapy can enable family members to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, understand each other’s experiences and views, appreciate each other’s needs, build on family strengths, and work together to make useful changes in their relationships and their lives. Sometimes being in a family feels great, and things work well. Sometimes being in a family can feel like a huge challenge. When we hurt, other parts of the family can be affected in some way. Family therapy helps people to work together when something is hurting, or just feeling out of sorts.
Families are unique and can be very complicated. Each person thinks and talks about things in a different way, and each person has different ideas, feelings, worries and strengths. All kinds of changes can make family life more stressful, such as an illness, unemployment, moving home, infidelity, new family members, getting older, divorce, death and trauma.

Some families find their own ways to manage these changes, and some families find it much harder than others. Family therapy can help families when they’re feeling overwhelmed, sad, distressed and angry; when they’re not sure what to do for the best; or when they feel stuck in repeating patterns of hurtful or harmful behaviour.

Family therapists understand that different people have different ideas about what ‘family’ means. So ‘family’ is used to describe any group of people who care about each other and call themselves a family. As well as parents and children of all ages, they may also involve grandparents, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, cousins, friends, carers, and other professionals. They try to include whoever is important to the family.

Family therapists respect the importance of each person’s beliefs, sexuality, colour, religion, culture, and life experiences. They will adapt their approach and activities to suit the ages, needs, and preferences of each family they see.

Family therapy helps family members, friends and others to understand and support each other. Family therapists try to help everyone to feel safe so they can talk about their difficult thoughts and feelings, understand each other’s experiences and views, appreciate each other’s needs, build on family strengths, and work together to make useful changes in their relationships and their lives.
Family Therapists will help families and individuals to talk about their hopes, and to work towards their own goals as a family. Sometimes it only takes a few sessions to help a family find their way. Sometimes difficulties are more complicated than others, and families may need longer to find the solutions that work best for them.
Here are some of the things that a family therapist might do with a family:
Talk about each person’s hopes for their family.

  • Encourage everyone in the family to talk about their experiences, and to listen to everyone else.
  • Respect and clarify each person’s beliefs, values, needs, hopes and assumptions to help them understand each other better.
  • Help families to stop blaming each other and to begin exploring how everyone can work together to make things better.
  • Help people to understand the effect their words and actions have on everyone else in the family.
  • Explore what each person in the family does well, and what they are most proud of.
  • Help families to talk about the challenges they are facing
  • Support families as they work towards their own goals.

Family therapists can see children and adults on their own, or with other family members. Sometimes they offer a mixture of individual and family appointments, if they think that will be useful. Family therapists can also work with couples. Seeing a family therapist together can help people to understand and support each other better.

Family therapists sometimes use their understanding of relationships to work with bigger groups and organisations. When they do this they often call themselves ‘systemic psychotherapists’. Systemic therapists may work with teams and organisations providing supervision and consultation to schools, charities and other services that aim to improve the health and well-being of people and their families. We will also work specifically to work with companies and organisations to help them improve relationships and staff wellbeing.
Family therapy is useful for families and relationships that are facing all kinds of difficulties and experiences, such as:

  • Families and couples who want to build closer and happier relationships.
  • Families facing special challenges like alcoholism, mental illness, physical illness, bereavement, eating disorders, ageing, family conflicts, cultural adjustments, trauma, etc.
  • Families who are worried about their children’s behaviour.
  • Any family who would like someone to help them talk about difficult things together in a way that’s safe, open, creative and useful.
  • Help with the effects of separation and divorce.
Adam Lewis is available for clinic at Rowan House, and can be contacted on 07985 141485 or 01603 810896.

Family Psychotherapist

Adam Lewis