Family therapy

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Family therapy (or family systems therapy) is a branch of psychotherapy that treats family problems. Family therapists consider the family as a system of interacting members; as such, the problems in the family are seen to arise as an emergent property of the interactions in the system, rather than ascribed exclusively to the "faults" or psychological problems of individual members.


A family therapist usually sees several members of the family at the same time in therapy sessions ("conjoint family therapy", this term is also used in the approach of Virginia Satir.) This setting has the advantage of making differences between the ways different family members perceive mutual relations as well as interaction patterns in the session apparent both for the therapist and the family. These patterns frequently mirror habitual interaction patterns at home, even though now the therapist himself is incorporated into the family system. Therapy interventions usually focus on these patterns of interaction rather than on analyzing subconscious impulses or early childhood traumas of individuals as a Freudian therapist would do.

Depending on circumstances, the therapist may then point out to the family these interaction patterns that the family might have not noticed; or suggest to individuals a different way of responding to other family members. These changes in the way of responding may then trigger repercussions in the whole system, leading sometimes to a more satisfactory system state.


Some key developers of theories of family therapy are:

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