5. FAMILY AND COUPLES' THERAPY
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity" - Albert Einstein
Couples therapy explores relationship dynamics and the existing patterns between partners, with a focus on enhancing communication and the ways in which partners relate to one another. This can be applied at all stages of a relationship, whether newly together, engaged, married for years, separating, or co-parenting.
Working within a confidential and empathetic environment, couples therapy creates an opportunity for conflict resolution, the repair of rifts, and the re-establishment or strengthening of trust and connection. It provides a space for partners to share, heal, and grow together.
While there may be a tendency to begin therapy when experiencing a crisis or period of difficulty, there does not have to be a serious breakdown in a relationship for couples therapy to be beneficial. The therapy process can also have preventative value for couples, providing them with a space to learn new skills and techniques for communicating effectively, resolving conflicts, and working through difficulties as they arise.
Family therapy aims to enhance the functioning of the individuals within the family, as well as the holistic functioning of the family system. It is grounded in the knowledge that family members and their relationships with one another are interconnected. Accordingly, change in one area of family functioning will contribute to change in other areas – both for individuals and the family unit.
Family therapy focuses on enhancing family functioning through exploring and developing healthy and effective communication, problem solving, family roles, emotional responses and involvement, and behaviour. Family therapy is beneficial in enhancing the well-being of the family and promoting family resilience. It is particularly useful for families who are experiencing:
- Periods of change and transitions, such as entering new developmental life cycles, immigration, or the introduction of new partners
- Crises, such as the loss of a loved one, an incident of crime, or separation or divorce
- Relationship difficulties within the family unit or specific subsystems, such as a mother-daughter or sibling relationship
- A need for support related to a family member or multiple members experiencing psychopathology, such as eating disorders, mood disorders, addiction, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or learning difficulties