Family Therapy

Family therapy near Yorkville is one of several counselling services that I provide in my downtown Toronto practice. Family therapy is intended for two or more family members, as opposed to individual therapy that focuses on just one person. Family therapy can include a whole family or just those members of the family who require assistance with a specific problem or a chronic difficulty in relating to each other and living in relative harmony. Family therapy can include young children,Kids, teenagers, and grown children and their adults. Family therapy sessions are normally one session per week and should occur on a consistent basis in order to be helpful.

The Toronto Therapy Approach: Family Therapy

As the theoretical orientation for all of my counselling services is psychodynamic/psychoanalytic, this approach also influences how I view family therapy and work as a family therapist. In family therapy sessions, the emphasis is on taking turns to respectfully listen to each other talk about a problem as openly as possible in a safe and neutral environment with the therapist as a referee or facilitator. Problems in families are often rooted in communication problems, so during a session I may point out my observations about the way a family is communicating with each other in order to create a break in the repetitive pattern.

What to Expect in Family Therapy

One assumption in psychodynamic family therapy is that we may unconsciously repeat patterns from our pasts without knowing that we are doing so, including behaviours that are self-defeating and hurtful to the people we love the most. One aspect of my role as a family therapist is to point out these repetitive patterns that may be unconscious, in order to bring awareness to things that the members of a family were not previously aware of. This new insight is one step towards creating change in individuals and in the family system itself.

Since psychodynamic family therapy is essentially a developmental therapy (the present depends and is predicted by the past), a portion of time in family therapy is spent exploring the collective past of the family as well as the individual pasts of its members. One of the assumptions in all of the counselling services I provide is that all behaviour has meaning. It is never just biological or without meaning in the context of our own lives and history, and this meaning can be discovered through careful history-taking and exploration of how the past became the present. Few people understand how the family we grew up in and our relationships with our significant others can influence who we choose as a partner, how we interact with that partner, and how we relate to our children. Understanding these patterns is essential to clarifying the present circumstance we find ourselves in and creating the possibility for a different future.

Family therapy can be especially useful with adolescents or children who are open enough to talk about their feelings in front of their parents. It is also very productive for families going through a divorce or separation, with newly blended families, and with families who are experiencing gay and lesbian issues.
If you interested in making an appointment or finding out more about family therapy, the first step is a telephone consultation where we briefly speak about your concerns before finding a time to meet to discuss the issues in more depth. This is also a good time to answer any questions, doubts or concerns you may have about family therapy before deciding if it is the right treatment for you.