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What are the benefits of family counseling?
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/family-counseling, January 25, 2022
Family counseling, or family therapy, aims to address psychological, behavioral, and emotional issues that cause family problems. Family members will work with a therapist to develop and maintain a healthy relationship.
What is family counseling?
Family counseling, or family therapy, is a method to develop and maintain healthy and functional family relationships.
The goal is to identify and address problems in the family. These issues could be emotional, psychological, or behavioral.
Many approaches to family therapy stem from family systems theory. This suggests that families work in systems rather than groups of people who function independently of each other.
According to family systems theory, changes in one family member will influence changesTrusted Source in other parts of the family.
Benefits of family counseling
The benefits of counseling vary from family to family. They can include:
- developing healthy boundaries
- improving communication
- defining someone’s role within the family
- improving family dynamics and relationships
- providing strength and coping tools for family members
- addressing dysfunctional interactions
- improving the family’s problem-solving abilities
Research in the Journal of Family Therapy suggests family therapy effectively addresses issues with children, including:
- conduct disorders
- substance addictions
- offending behavior
Family counseling can also help people with mental health issues.
A 2020 studyTrusted Source suggests families might find therapy useful for the following reasons:
- difficulty communicating or expressing emotions
- conflicts between siblings
- inconsistent parenting
- marital problems
- developing a functional and healthy relationship following a divorce
- adapting to a major change
- dealing with a chronic illness or death in the family
Is family therapy effective?
There is evidence that family therapy is an effective form of counseling.
A 2018 literature reviewTrusted Source suggests that family counseling and other family-based approaches, such as parent training and programs, were effective in a variety of situations, including:
- sleep, feeding, and attachment problems in infancy
- recovery from child abuse and child neglect
- behavioral conditions
- disordered eating
Additionally, research suggests that family therapy is effective for adolescents with mental health conditions, regardless of gender. The authors note that the adolescents in this study reported fewer internal and external problems after therapy.
Parents reported that they learned more effective parenting methods and felt the family was closer. However, the study notes that female parents were more likely to find family counseling helpful than male parents.