Friday, September 14, 2012

Who are family therapists?

A Family Therapist is someone who has a masters or doctoral degree and has been trained to work with individuals, couples, and families (which makes the title of "Family Therapist" a bit of a misnomer). Yet there are a variety of ways for a therapist to work with family relationships, even with only one person in the room. Thus, these kinds of therapists could equally be called "relational" or "systemic" thinkers.

Family Therapists are trained to handle a wide variety of life’s difficulties: anger, anxiety, depression, grief, relationship issues, marriage and divorce, step-families, addictions and substance abuse, eating disorders, and more.

However, not all therapists are trained to do family therapy. They may be comfortable working with many members of a family in one room but this does not necessarily mean that they are doing family therapy.

Family therapy is actually a particular way of looking at how people interact with one another; it's a sort of lens that focuses and interprets what we see. Therapists trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy or psychodynamic therapy, for example, will each use their own lens to determine what they see. Thus three different therapists from three different backgrounds could be looking at the same family and see totally different issues.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Working with teens

One of the first things that I do when working with new clients is to establish a sense of rapport or relationship. If I am working with children or adolescents I like to find out what’s of interest to her and what she values. What hobbies does he enjoy? Favorite t.v. shows? I want to connect with her as a person, not just focus on what’s not working in her life at the moment.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Containment refers to the energetic space between you and your therapist. It's the atmosphere the therapist creates that conveys a sense of safety, allowing you to more comfortably move through your emotions.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Therapeutic Relationships

The relationship that the therapist creates with the client makes all the difference in the world.  A relationship created with trust, commitment, patience, and security – the way the therapist creates a holding space for the emotions of the client – aids in the possibility of the client having a different sort of emotional experience.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Therapy Goals

As therapists, we may have certain goals for the families we work with but in the end it is the family that must decide where it is they want to go.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Change is happening all the time and every family has strengths and resources.  Significant change may be very small and easy to miss if we aren’t looking for it.