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What Is Family Therapy?

When you experience problems and issues that affect your entire family, you might consider attending family therapy sessions together. Family therapy is a great way keep your family system healthy and strong. It also lets all family members feel seen and heard. Family relationships can be tricky but family therapy aims to lessen some of that stress and tension.

Some of these therapists offer sessions designed for couples struggling with issues that might lead to a divorce or separation. Others may offer sessions designed to help every member of the family cope with traumatic events, major life transitions, to help them understand mental health conditions that may be in the family, find a more productive way for how the family communicates, and many other situations. Marriage and family therapy can be helpful for anyone in the family system through very intentional therapy sessions over a course of time. Therapists may work with the entire family in those sessions or hold individual sessions for each member of the family. Let’s learn more about family therapy and what it may be like to meet with a family therapist.

Who Can Attend Therapy Sessions?

A marriage and family therapist will be more than happy to involve other family members and offer family counseling in addition to or instead of just individual therapy. Though some think that these sessions are only open to immediate family members, anyone involved in the issue can often attend. You might ask your in-laws to attend sessions to cope with problems after the death of a loved one, or you might ask a close friend to come with you. Therapists also offer sessions designed for mixed families. When you remarry someone who has children or you have kids of your own, those children may have a hard time adjusting to their new lives. Marital and family therapy sessions can help you cope with everything from divorce and infidelity to death, substance abuse, and difficult mental health conditions.

How Much Do Sessions Cost?

Before attending a family therapy session, you may wonder how much each session will cost. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for marriage and family therapists is around $21 an hour. Some therapists may charge as little as $10 per session while others charge more than $100 per session. Therapists sometimes offer sliding scale fees that determine the cost you pay off the amount you make each week or month. If you have health insurance, your insurance may cover a portion or the total amount of your therapy too. Family counseling may seem like an intimidating cost to take on but healthy family relationships actually don’t have a price tag!

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How Many Sessions Will It Take?

There is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to family therapy, which is why you won’t know ahead of time how many sessions you must attend. Your therapist may give you an idea of how long the process will take after a few sessions but the family process to counseling may look different for everyone. Some families spend just five weeks in therapy before deciding to work on their problems together at home. Other families spend six months to a year or more working with a therapist. Even after covering your shared issues with family therapy, you may decide to work on some of your own issues in private sessions with a therapist.

Mental health professionals will likely all agree that you can’t decide ahead of time how many sessions will do the trick, regardless of the type of therapy you are seeking out. You’ve just got to start, take your time, and see how the family members interact over time. Family life is important and pretty much all family issues and behavioral issues can be resolved with work and communication.

What are Some of the Common Treatment Methods?

The type of treatments that these doctors use varies from therapist to therapist. Many rely on communications therapy, which gives each person in the session the chance to speak their mind and encourages families to communicate with each other. Other mental health professionals may use relationship counseling when working with couples without their children to help them talk through their issues and work out their problems together. Reality therapy is another popular treatment option. Therapists use this method to help patients realize that they need to solve their immediate problems first and that they need to learn new methods of working through their problems in the real world.

No matter how much you love your family, there are some things that you cannot work through without professional help. Marriage and family therapists offer family therapy sessions to help those families cope with their shared problems, and while you may need multiple sessions, your insurance may cover your therapy. We hope our insight on family therapy will encourage you to seek help if you’re looking for insight and help on how your family functions. A strong family unit can lead to a fulfilling and happy life.

Related Resources:

How Is a Family Therapy Session Run?
5 Ethical Dilemmas Faced By Marriage and Family Therapists
5 Concepts of Family Systems Theory
What is Family Systems Therapy?