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.


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