Family troubles / Adult-Child relationship / Parenting problems
What is Family therapy about and how it can help me?
Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that seeks to understand and treat an individual's mental and physical problems in a broader context. It is based, among other things, on a systemic theory that perceives each person as part of the relationship and social system in which they live. Our most important such system is usually the family. Each member of the family is closely connected with other members, both through social factors such as living together, etc., but mainly through mutual relations, which, according to the developmental stage of the family, are constantly evolving and changing.
The main function of the family is to create a safe and at the same time stimulating space for healthy physical and mental growth and maturation of children, as well as other family members. This process goes through various periods in which it is appropriate for the family as a whole to fulfill developmental tasks. If this fails for some reason and the whole family system gets stuck in some place for a long time, then mental or somatic symptoms may develop in individual family members. At the same time, a family member who is seemingly least affected by the conflict (for example, a younger sibling of a child in puberty) can become ill and become a so-called bearer of the symptom, when his symptoms unknowingly help to stabilize the balance of the whole family system. At such a moment, the help of a family therapist is ideal, who will try to transform the whole into a new, healthier balance, which will no longer need the formation of symptoms to maintain it and will allow the family to develop it further.
When is it appropriate to consider a family therapy?
Family therapy is especially suitable for patients who have chronic or recurrent symptoms and at the same time suffer from conflicts in relationships with their loved ones. At the somatic level, these are mostly so-called functional problems, where the dysfunction of the organ or locomotor system without a significant structural defect is at the forefront.
These may include chronic back pain, muscle or joint pain, cardiovascular disorders, headache or abdominal pain, gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation or diarrhea, chronic skin symptoms such as rashes and itching and others. Depression, anxiety and even panic attacks occur at a mental level and also chronic fatigue.
Thus, this generally includes a whole range of so-called psychosomatic diseases, which, especially when performing a stabilizing function within the family system, can show considerable resistance to established treatments such as physiotherapy, pharmacology or other common treatments. However, it is always based on multifactorial etiology, which means that psychosocial burden is never considered the only cause of illness. Therefore, it is always necessary to perform an appropriate somatic examination in parallel.
The psychosocial burden can be caused by problematic relationships within the immediate family, such as between partners or between parents and growing children, further missing relationships in single-parent families or also insufficient separation of grown up adults from their own parents. It often happens that patients are not aware of such a burden at all, for example when it is a family constellation that has lasted for many years and seems normal to all family members.