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What Happens in Family Therapy?

therapist conducting session with family displaying what happens in family therapy

Family therapy offers family members the chance to discuss family dynamics, alter communication styles, and gain a deeper understanding of one another. A therapist guides participants through each session so that emotional challenges and conflict are minimized as family relationships are strengthened. 

Imagine Boise is a teen treatment center dedicated to helping adolescents achieve mental wellness. You can call 888.597.2807 to learn more about the family therapy program at Imagine Boise. 

Therapy for Families Supports Teen Wellness

Communication, conflict resolution, and empathy aren’t skills taught in school. This means that any family can benefit from strengthening those essential relationship skills. 

When a teen is dealing with mental health concerns, family therapy is a particularly effective way to help families come together to ensure all family members feel understood and supported.

It’s common for both parents and teens to feel hesitant about participating in a family therapy session. Knowing what to expect from therapy for families can help you manage expectations, reduce anxiety, and prepare all family members to get the most out of a session. 

What to Expect from a Family Therapy Session

At the first session, a therapist will greet all family members and work to develop an overarching understanding of the specific challenges the family is facing. The frequency and duration of sessions might differ by program and family needs. 

For most family therapy sessions, you can expect a basic format to include an initial introduction and assessment followed by the opportunity for family members to share specific concerns they’d like to address. 

A therapist might encourage one family member to speak without interruptions and then guide other family members to share their thoughts and feelings on the issue at hand. 

Supporting Healthy Family Communication

A therapist will work to help all participants take personal accountability by using language that emphasizes feelings over blaming. 

For example, if a teen is accustomed to using language like, “You always…,” they’ll be guided by the therapist to work on phrasing like, “When you do this, I feel….” When family members learn to speak with neutral language and personal accountability, tensions are reduced, and resolutions are more easily achieved. 

For some families, sessions might focus on conflict and arguments between family members. For others, the priority might be learning to communicate thoughts and emotions more effectively.

How Effective Is Family Therapy?

It’s natural for parents to wonder: How effective is family therapy?

Family therapy is an evidence-based, proven, and highly effective method of addressing and improving family challenges. This is why therapy for families is often regarded as a central element of any teen mental or behavioral health treatment program. 

Family therapy effectively addresses the following: 

  • Difficulty with effective communication
  • High levels of conflict  
  • Past resentments and guilt
  • Lack of empathy and understanding
  • Confusion over what other family members are experiencing

Family therapy is particularly effective at improving family dynamics when a teen is facing mental health challenges. 

Teenagers are dependent on their parents, and teen mental health concerns are a family problem. By working together, all family members can be supported in learning skills related to communication, conflict, and coping with emotional and mental health challenges. 

Try Family Therapy at Imagine Boise

When parents take the time to attend family therapy sessions, all family members benefit from the results.  

Family sessions can offer a teen an irreplaceable sense of understanding and belonging and empower parents by giving them tools to best support a teen struggling with mental health challenges. 

When family members are willing to show up and work together, the results can alter family dynamics for a lifetime. To learn more about how family therapy can help your family, reach out online or call 888.597.2807 and ask about the program at Imagine Boise.