We are predisposed to seek comfort and care from those we love, especially when we are wounded, scared, sad, or angry. When we can’t or are afraid to seek the care that we need from those we love, we suffer. Sometimes when we suffer, we get angry and express our anger. When we express our anger, we are not communicating our need for care, support and connection, and most likely we receive an angry response, which leaves us feeling alone and misunderstood.
Family therapy helps to identify patterns of behavior that contribute to misunderstanding, tension and conflict – patterns of behavior that make it difficult to receive the care, comfort, love and connection that we need. The focus is on how patterns are maintained in the present and what role each person plays in the overall pattern.
Successful family therapy helps family members understand how their belief systems affect their behavior and their interactions with each other. They are encouraged to abandon an ‘either or’ point of view so as to improve their ability to accept multiple perspectives and to respect individual differences. The goal is to help the family understand that the “enemy” is the cycle of negative interactions, rather than any member of the family.
The test of a relationship is in the answer to a fundamental question; are you really there for me? So the overriding goal in family therapy is to help family members regain (and sometimes gain for the first time) intimacy and a secure attachment with each other.