What Is Family Therapy? - Techniques & Concept

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  • 0:00 Family Therapy
  • 1:14 Common Family System Problems
  • 2:42 Assessment & Treatment
  • 3:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Manuela Heberle

Manuela has master's degree in counseling and has taught psychology, social psychology, and a tests and measurements course.

In this lesson, you will learn about common family system problems and some of the techniques that are used in the assessment and treatment of families. After completing the lesson, you can take a short quiz to gauge your level of understanding.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is based on the theory that family is a system, a unit in which the members are acting and reacting to one another. Imagine your automobile engine. If one part is not functioning properly, other parts in the engine will be affected. But, if all parts are working well, the engine will be at optimum performance.

The goals of family therapy are to:

  • Establish healthy boundaries
  • Improve functioning
  • Change negative patterns of interaction
  • Build positive relationships among family members

Because the family system is interrelated and mutually influential, family therapists don't focus on an individual family member during treatment. Instead, family therapists address problems within the family system. In other words, family therapists assess what is going on in the family that is contributing to the problem behaviors.

Let's look at an example: If parents come to therapy and indicate that their son is aggressive and, in their view, out of control, the family therapist will assess observable behavior patterns and family dynamics that might be contributing to the son's aggressive behavior. She might find that the parents themselves display aggression and that the son is merely exhibiting learned behavior.

Common Family System Problems

Some common family system problems are related to hierarchy, boundaries, and affect.

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