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Family Therapy

What is Family Therapy?

Family Therapy is a type of psychological counseling where a therapist, psychologist, or clinical social worker meets with a family, usually together, to empower them to improve communication and resolve conflicts. Family therapy is often a short-term strategy. Some family members may not be able to attend because of a conflict, although it often works best when all are present.

How Do I Know When My Family Needs Therapy?

If there is a breakdown in communication between two or more family members that lasts for more than one incident, or if one party is not being heard or respected, then the family may benefit from family therapy. Here are a few situations that may make a family want to seek out family therapy.

Work-Life Balance

Spouses and children absolutely need attention and love to thrive and find happiness. If work (or other endeavors) are consuming too much time, a therapist can help the primary breadwinner(s) understand the importance of family and find solutions that are not too restrictive on family time.

Financial Difficulties

Sudden loss of employment or other hardship can cause a family to find itself in a financial bind. During these times, it is important to not point fingers, but to take responsibility for one’s own part and work together to find a solution. When family members can forgive one another and stay focused, they can weather any storm.


A death in the family, divorce, car accident, or other unprecedented situation can cause a number of logistical challenges for a family, while causing them to grieve at the same time. People in need of healing sometimes are not the best ones to be picking up the pieces. Therapy is a great way to separate the challenges of life from the wounds of the soul, and help family members find solutions.

Behavioral Challenges

If one family member is disobedient, or is involved in irresponsible or illegal activity, it can certainly cause challenges within the home. In such cases, it is important not to take sides. Family members should strive for solidarity in order to help the troubled individual, without enabling their irresponsible behavior.

Mental Illness or Disability

If a family member is suffering from a mental illness or disability, it can cause a strain on the operation of the household. It is imperative that the family develop academic knowledge of the condition in order to meet the individual’s needs. There is no better person than a mental health professional to mentor and guide a family in such a situation.

Other Indicators

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself that might help you identify a need for family therapy:

  • Is there a family member that exhibits extreme emotional symptoms or outbursts?
  • Is your family having difficulty functioning in its normal capacity? (Are you struggling to maintain a normal degree of function?)
  • Is your family struggling to communicate?
  • Is there evidence of abuse? (Verbal, physical, emotional)
  • Is there evidence of substance abuse, addiction, or illegal activity?
  • Is there a family member withdrawing from life, or sharing thoughts about harming themselves or someone else?
  • Is a family member struggling with poor performance at work or school?
  • Is there a family member feeling helpless or hopeless?
  • Has any family member recently suffered a traumatic event and cannot cope?

Essential Care is committed to helping you balance your mental health.

What does a typical FT session look like?

During your initial family therapy session, you can expect your therapist to review your intake paperwork and explain how he or she conducts the sessions. Really, the therapist is trying to put his or her cards on the table to build trust. As you all get to know one another, you will be in a better position to open up and share.

The therapist is responsible for creating a climate in which all voices are heard, valued, and validated. Validating another party does not mean agreeing; it simply means acknowledging their point of view for what it is. When one person’s point of view elicits a strong reaction from one or more others, it becomes a talking point. As family members learn to share in a controlled and safe environment, the hope is that these skills will translate to the home, and that all parties will be able to share their perspectives more freely with each other.

In cases where communication is not an issue, then the therapist is simply trying to explore what the parties are having difficulty with, and help them find a solution that works for everyone. In certain cases, the therapist may need to educate the family on certain principles, as when a child has special needs, for example. If one or more family members needs additional resources or sessions in order to find resolution, then the therapist makes them available.

What are the Benefits of FT?

If the sessions are run smoothly, all parties feel safe and empowered to grow. The most important benefit is improved communication. Family members should become much more honest and direct with each other. If they do not, there is usually a reason why which is obvious to all. Moving forward the family may still have problems, but at least they should know what they are and have strategies in place for addressing them.

Why is Essential Care NJ the Best Choice for Family Therapy?

The therapists that practice at all Essential Care NJ locations are licensed and well-trained to handle all manner of family crisis situations. We understand exactly what questions to ask you to help you understand whether or not your current situation warrants family therapy, and when your family arrives, we treat every person and voice as valuable. Our core values of fairness, integrity, and honesty serve us in pursuit of our purpose, which is to provide accessible, holistic, patient-centered care that enables patients to lead stress-free, healthy lives. Our Essential Care professionals always place your well-being and peace of mind as our number one priority.

Choose Essential Care NJ for Family Therapy

If you are interested in learning more about daily therapy, or would like to know whether it may be right for your family, use the location tool on this website to identify the Essential Care office nearest you. Call us, and we will be happy to talk with you about your situation and set up an appointment. Family therapy is often a short-term strategy. That’s often because the therapist is able to quickly identify which family members are in the best position to make changes, and the best way to enroll other family members in helping them. Change takes humility, so it is critical not to choose sides, or make enemies. A family is one unit, one team. When you can accept and love one another, you can overcome any challenge.

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