Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves all the members of a nuclear or extended family.
The purpose of family therapy is to identify and treat family problems that cause dysfunction. Therapy focuses on improvement in specific areas of functioning for each member, including communication and problem-solving skills.
Family therapy tends to be short term, aimed at resolving specific problems such as personality differences, difficulties with school, or adjustments to bereavement or geographical relocation. It is not normally used for long-term or intensive restructuring of severely dysfunctional families.
In therapy sessions, all members of the family and the therapist are present. The therapist tries to analyse communication and interaction between all members of the family; they do not side with specific members, although they may make occasional comments to help members become more conscious of patterns previously taken for granted.
The goal of therapy is the identification and resolution of the problem that is causing the family's unhealthy interactions. Results include greater insight, improved communication within the family, and loosening of previously automatic behaviour patterns.