All family therapists have their unique way of approaching. A typical FT session, however, entails filling out some paperwork, usually in advance of the first session.
During the initial stages, a family therapist listens to the concerns of all the family members that made them seek therapy in the first place. While asking questions, the therapist observes the family’s interactions with one another. The therapist will try to get all the family members to sit together for at least the initial part of the session.
The initial stages of family therapy also involve understanding the hierarchies within a family, including:
- the roles and responsibilities of every member
- the person(s) having the authority of decision-making in the family
Then comes the communication stage, in which every family member will be inquired about specifics of their lives and recent stressor(s). The therapist will ask about what triggered the conflict and how the family has been trying to handle the situation so far. Each family member can express what they think and how they feel because of the unresolved conflict. All individual stressors are viewed in the context of the larger unit: the family.
Next, the family therapist sets goals during the goal-setting stage, to resolve the major conflict, identified by both the family and the therapist together. The therapist works separately as well as mutually with all members to help resolve a conflict that has been impacting their relationships.
The last stage of a family therapy session is the homework-assigning stage. Finally, a therapist will work out a treatment plan and assign outside-session homework. Doing such exercises will slowly help you learn ways to cope with the problem(s) without the assistance of a therapist.
Additional therapy sessions are scheduled for further delving into the family’s problems and dynamics as well as track the progress.