What is a Family Counselor? (Family therapy)

What is a Family Counselor? (Family therapy)

What Does a Family Counselor Mean? (Family therapy)

Family counselor provides counseling for married couples or family members to overcome their mental or emotional problems that may arise at home.

Family therapy, also referred to as couple and family therapy, marriage and family therapy, family systems therapy, and family counseling, is a branch of psychology that works with families and couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development.

What Does a Family Counselor Do? What are their Duties and Responsibilities? (Family therapy)

The primary task of the family counselor is to meet with the whole family to discuss and examine issues that interfere with family life. Other responsibilities of the family counselor are:

  • Talking to family members to determine what topics will be covered in therapy sessions
  • Gathering information about family members through testing, interviewing and observation,
  • Informing clients on issues such as divorce, separation, child rearing, household management and financial difficulties,
  • Directing the clients to the relevant specialist in cases that require medication, psychiatry and legal aid,
  • Encouraging family members to develop skills and strategies to deal with problems constructively.
  • Storing files containing activities, progress notes, evaluations and suggestions,
  • Meeting with other consultants and experts to analyze individual cases and coordinate advisory services.
  • To advise the courts in cases of detention or detention of children; communicating with doctors, schools, social workers, child counselors, and law enforcement officials,
  • Providing family counseling and treatment services to inmates participating in substance abuse programs,
  • Evaluating parents and children to be used by the court to decide on divorce and custody cases, testifying in court when necessary,

What Training Do You Need to Get to Become a Family Counselor? (Family therapy)

It is necessary to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from the departments of psychology, sociology, social work, psychological counseling and guidance, nursing, medicine and child development, which provide four-year education at universities. Various universities and educational institutions have Family Counseling certificate programs.

Features that a Family Counselor Should Have (Family therapy)

  • Demonstrate effective communication skills,
  • To behave in accordance with professional ethics,
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify complex problems and provide solutions,
  • Demonstrate the ability to cope with stressful and emotional situations,
  • Demonstrating persuasion skills,
  • Have advanced observation skills and attention to detail

What does family counseling do?

Family therapy can help you improve troubled relationships with your partner, children or other family members. You may address specific issues such as marital or financial problems, conflict between parents and children, or the impact of substance abuse or a mental illness on the entire family.

What’s the difference between a therapist and a counselor?

The focus may be on problem solving or on learning specific techniques for coping with or avoiding problem areas. Counseling is also usually more short-term than therapy. Psychotherapy is more long-term than counseling and focuses on a broader range of issues.

The idea of Family Therapy or Family Systems Therapy originated in Dr. Murray Bowen in the late 1960s, he believed that human beings function as an emotional unit and are better understood when viewed as part of a family rather than as a separate and isolated part. entity. In addition, Dr. Bowen believed that when a client has difficulties with something, whether it is a personal or family-related problem, the family’s involvement in the solution is generally beneficial to the client and produces a more positive outcome.

Many different types of therapies can be grouped in the Family Therapy tree. It is a type of talk therapy, that is, psychotherapy that helps families and couples solve their problems, improve communication and resolve conflicts. Through this type of therapy, the bond and strength between family members is emphasized and a healthy relationship is encouraged because it helps with mental and psychological health.

While it is accepted that not all families share the same level of interdependence, there is always some interdependence, small or large. This helps family members provide support, protection, and affection for each other; however, in times of tension or anxiety, these bonds can break and can lead to major problems and concerns that make one or more of the members feel isolated, angry, sad, or depressed. Family therapy helps bridge those differences and returns unity and cohesion within the unit.


Dr. Bowen used genograms (representing a family story) to evaluate and treat his clients. Three generations of family history are collected through interviews, based on this information, Dr. Bowen looked for patterns of behavior and history of emotional and mental problems. Eight intertwined principles form the basis of Dr. Bowen’s theory of family systems, these principles are:

Triangles: This is the smallest emotional system and includes a relationship involving three people (Person A, B and C). In this system, tension changes and has an impact on all three individuals, e.g. Person A and B are happy while Person C is in conflict). When the tension or anxiety in the group increases, it begins to affect the ‘intertwined’ triangles and in this way distributes the tension to others.

This is a kind of band-aid solution because it provides stability in the moment, but it does not solve the root cause of the problem. Clinical problems can arise from triangles because stress can act as a catalyst for depression or physical illness.

Self differentiation: the level at which an individual depends on others to find meaning and approval in his or her life. For example, people with a poorly differentiated self go out of their way to please others in order to gain acceptance, regardless of how they really feel or what they believe in.

Nuclear family emotional system: Four patterns of relationship that can cause problems within a family unit. These patterns are:

  • Problems in a marriage;
  • Problems with a spouse;
  • Distant emotional behavior;
  • Disability of a child or children

Process of family projection: This principle analyzes how parents transmit to them the emotional problems, anxiety and worries they feel for their children. And how this in turn affects the physical and emotional development of children, for example, many children become very stressed and distressed and develop emotional problems.

Multigenerational transmission process: This principle looks at how differences and patterns in families (in parents and their children) can be found to recur over numerous generations. For example, mental health problems, drug or alcohol dependence, etc.

Emotional cut-when a family member ‘cuts’ or reduces their emotional contact with other family members in an attempt to ignore or manage a problem. This can be done physically without ever being around or emotionally refusing to discuss the issue at hand.

Sibling position: how a sibling’s position in the family, i.e., older, middle, or younger, can affect family dynamics and development.

Social emotional process: This process analyzes how emotions affect social behavior and leads to progressive and regressive periods.


Family therapy sessions are conducted by a social worker, licensed therapist or psychologist and will develop a treatment plan based on the needs of the family. Family therapy is usually a short-term treatment and includes the whole family or people who want to participate.

Numerous types and techniques of family system therapy are used to help people and their loved ones. Contrary to popular belief, therapy does not mean sitting in a chair talking for endless hours with a therapist. Talking is a big part of treatment, but most therapists rely heavily on different types of games and activities, all of which are designed to improve communication and increase trust among family members. Some of the techniques used in family therapy include:

Structural family Therapy (SFT): This type of therapy looks at the problems and challenges people face when they function as a family unit. The family, its structure, rules, hierarchy and roles of family members are the main focus of SFT. By analyzing these variables, therapists are in a better position to decipher the cause of the dysfunction and provide people with the tools and coping methods needed to develop a healthy and stable relationship and resolve the conflict in question.
Strategic Family Therapy: The word strategic plays a key role in this technique and is one of the most used therapies.

Unlike many other techniques, this therapy requires the therapist to be more practical and follow a set of processes that begin with:

  1. Observation: the therapist observes the family and their interactions with each other;
  2. Problem: the therapist finds out what the conflict is;
  3. Interaction: the family is encouraged to discuss the problem, the therapist analyzes the family boundaries, its structure, etc.
  4. Goal Setting: The therapist and family work together to outline what they hope to achieve and set goals for themselves;

Task settings: Each member is assigned a task or assignment to resolve the issue.

Functional family Therapy (FT): This method is often used to help young people and adolescents experiencing problems such as substance abuse or violence. It is a short-term treatment for these young people and their families, and success is based on building respect and trust for all involved. In addition, FFT helps to motivate people and find the positive aspects of their lives.

Systemic family therapy: In this method, problems are addressed systemically rather than analytically, so the cause, symptoms, and problems of past problems are left out. This therapy identifies patterns of behavior in individuals and their families and helps them develop new and positive patterns. It is an approach that is rapidly gaining ground in other fields such as education, social work and even politics.

Narrative family therapy: This method encourages the individual to differentiate themselves from the problem they face and encourages them to lessen their problems using the skills they have. Narrative Therapy focuses on the skills and competencies that people naturally possess and encourages their use to make positive changes in an individual’s life. Instead of changing the person, the goal is to change the way a problem affects them.


Family therapy is a very beneficial and very effective treatment for solving problems or helping people (within the family unit) to better understand each other. In many cases, family therapy is done as a preventive step, to address and resolve a conflict before it happens. When the idea of family therapy first took hold, “family” was traditionally defined with children and their parents. Over the years, that definition has evolved to include people who have loving and supportive relationships, regardless of whether they are related or married. Basically, this means that any member of a “family” unit can get help.

While family therapy is not a comprehensive solution to all conflicts in the family, going to therapy sessions should help family members communicate more effectively and should help resolve concerns. However, it can’t make bad things disappear permanently unless you keep working on it. Every relationship needs work and commitment on a daily basis, but at the very least, family therapy will provide you with the skills you need to get the job done.

Studies have shown that family therapy is an effective method of solving certain problems and has been shown to help families cope with traumatic events (such as a death) and has helped families deal with mental and behavioral problems along with a host of other problems. such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, depression, marital problems, etc.Many families choose to perform interventions and then get help together as a family.

If you or someone in your family is going through something and this is having a negative impact on family dynamics, then family therapy is something you should seriously consider. It will allow all family members to express their views and concerns in a safe and non-judgmental environment and will help them reach a resolution as a family.

The first step is to talk to your family doctor or health care professional, explain your concerns, talk to your family and together you can come up with the technique and type of therapy that best suits your needs. Family therapy will help them communicate and understand each other better.

Benefits of family counseling

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Advantages and disadvantages of family therapy

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Family therapy techniques

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The goals of family therapy are typically to strengthen communication. VIEW ALL SERVICES. Schedule an Appointment Today. (503)289-1584. Through a combination of honesty, empathy and active coaching, we help individuals, families and couples learn effective tools to help strengthen their capacity to trust and connect with themselves and others.

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