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What is Family and Couples Therapy?

Family and couple therapy is a therapy for conflicts and problems in family members or between couples and individuals, with the participation of all family members, to solve problems and to help restore the healthy balance of the family.

Why Family and Couples Therapy?

In many studies conducted with families for many years, it has been determined that family members are inclined to behave in certain ways and with rules in their communication with each other. The patterns in which individuals behave in a certain way, either implicitly or implicitly, are an attempt to preserve the peaceful structure of the family, which is called family balance. When problems that arise in the individual or in the relations of individuals with each other threaten to disrupt this balance, individuals may try to resolve this balance in unhealthy or useless ways. At this point, family therapy considers individuals both separately as unique personalities, and together as parts of the family and factors that affect each other.

The dynamic of the relationship between couples takes its structure from the individual experiences, feelings and thoughts of the couples. Getting to know couples individually, understanding their difficulties and their reactions to them, and helping them develop insight into how the patterns they have taken from their root families and carried into their own characters come to life in their relationships are some of the main goals of couples therapy.

When a problem affecting the family or the couple occurs, identifying how the other or other family members are affected by these problems and clarifying how this effect affects the interaction between individuals plays a key role in raising awareness and taking initiatives to solve the problem.

When a problem occurs in an individual in the family, it is determined what role the family can play in the formation of this problem and how this problem affects other family members, and a joint study is carried out to re-establish the balance.


What Causes to Bring to Family and Couples Therapy?

Families and couples may apply to family therapy for many reasons. Some of these reasons may be:

  • Changes occurring outside the nuclear family: War, crisis, epidemics, natural disasters…etc.

  • Changes in the root families of spouses: Illnesses, deaths, changes in economic conditions, etc. in grandparents or other relatives.

  • Individuals who have just joined or left the nuclear family: Inclusion of a grandparent or other relative in the family, one of the family moving to another place, one of the children leaving the house due to education or marriage, the birth of a new child…etc.

  • Biological changes in family members: Children entering puberty, the mother's menopause, a member's illness…etc.

  • Social changes: Moving the family to another neighborhood, city or country, significant changes in the job of the mother or father, significant changes in the economic situation in the family, or the decision to divorce.

  • The grieving process: The death of one or more family members

  • Changes in the relationship between couples: Cheating, sexual problems, trust problems, communication problems.

In addition to the possible causes exemplified, all the problems that the family has experienced individually can be included in the family therapy process in order to examine the sources of this problem and its effect on other family members.

How Does the Family and Couples Therapy Process Work?

Family and Couples therapy begins with the family/couple contacting a specialist in one or more areas that they describe as a problem. In family therapy, interviews begin with the inclusion of all family members (mother, father, children, grandparents if any, other people if any) in the process. In the study with couples, both couples are expected to be actively involved in the process. At this point, the participation of all members in the therapy sessions is very valuable in terms of the effect of the treatment process, because in family therapy, people are considered as the only source that can explain and introduce themselves in terms of the way they perceive, react, feel, behave and think.

Each individual contributes to the family in a unique way that he brings from his own structure; for this reason, the participation of all members of the family in therapy sessions is important in order to discover these unique forms. The active participation of spouses, who are the architects of the family, is especially important. The therapist meets with all family members jointly. The process continues by talking about all the processes that the spouses have lived through, starting from the family they were born into. Here, the effects of the individual problems experienced on the family problem, the relationship between spouses and the relationship with the children as parents are examined.

Family and couple therapy continues until the point where individuals identify the problems they experience in communication with each other, raise awareness and initiate initiatives for a solution, and a healthy balance is rebuilt.

All of the topics mentioned in the article can be studied in family and couple therapy. If you are looking for an expert to accompany you on your journey with yourself, you can apply to Lenus Psychology.

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