Couples counseling is a process through which a couple (who may be engaged, dating, married, partnered—or sometimes even parent and child or other pairings) works with a trained therapist to identify specific areas of conflict and/or aspects of their relationship they would like to change, and then develops a plan of action to improve each individual’s satisfaction and contentment.
Working with a therapist in a safe and confidential setting, couples are able to explore how their individual backgrounds, beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors may be impacting their relationship in both positive and negative ways. The therapist may assist the couple with addressing any immediate and pressing problems, as well as developing strategies for protecting and enhancing the long-term health and happiness of their relationship.
Family therapy views a person’s symptoms as taking place in the larger context of the family. Just as a particular department in a business organization may suffer because of the problems in another department, a person with depression may be responding to larger family issues. For example, a depressed adolescent’s symptoms may be related to her parents’ marital problems.
Family therapy is a style where cognitive, behavior or interpersonal therapy may be employed. However, it is most often used with interpersonal therapy. Some special techniques of family therapy include:
Genogram — A genogram is a family tree constructed by the therapist. It looks at past relationships and events and what impact these have on the person’s current emotional technique.
Systemic Interpretation — Views depression as a symptom of a problem in the larger family.
Communication Training — Dysfunctional communication patterns within the family are identified and corrected. People are taught how to listen, ask questions and respond non-defensively.