What is family therapy, what family therapy can help with and how to find a family therapist?
Perhaps you are struggling to relate to your children or maybe your family is experiencing a crisis or ongoing challenges. It might be that your family is experiencing relationship difficulties or that one family member has an issue or mental health condition that is impacting the family as a whole. In any family, tension can arise between family members from time to time. Family therapy (or family counselling) aims to help families to find ways to overcome their issues in a healthy way, so that family members can relate to one another better.
A family therapist will help you and your partner or family members to communicate better, to find healthy ways to resolve disagreements and to better understand each other and any issues that you are having. Family therapists can help your family to resolve conflicts, express feelings in healthy ways, find ways to support each other and, ultimately, create positive change.
Who is family therapy for?
Family therapy can help adults and children of all ages and couples.
What issues can family therapy help with?
Family therapy (otherwise known as family systemic therapy or family psychotherapy) can help families to manage a number of issues. Common issues that family therapists help with include:
Child and adolescent behaviour issues
Divorce and separation
Adult and child mental health conditions
Adjusting to changes in the family
Loss and bereavement
Issues of difference
Problems in infancy, such as sleeping issues and feeding problems
Emotional problems, such as anxiety, grief and depression
What happens in family therapy?
Your therapist will need to understand the challenges that your family is facing and sources of stress or conflict in the family. Your therapist will gradually help you to understand how you might work through challenges and conflicts better and how you are communicating as a family at the moment. Family psychotherapists and counsellors aim to help you to build on your strengths in a safe, confidential environment.
All families are different and unique, so there is no one way of working that suits every family. Your family therapist should be experienced and aim not to place blame, but to engage everyone to work together to find ways of overcoming issues. To find a qualified who works with families near you, find your best match here.
While family therapy could be the right choice for you, you may also want to consider other therapies such as child psychotherapy, adolescent psychotherapy and marriage counselling. It is important to find the type of therapy that works for you.
Find a Therapist
Wondering how to find a therapist? 10 things to consider.
It is important to find a therapist you feel you can work with and trust, as the better the relationship is between you, the more likely you are to benefit from your therapy.
Whether you are unsure of how to find a local therapist or wondering how to find a good therapist online, here are the top 10 things to consider to make finding a therapist as simple as possible:
Often, people ask ‘how do I find a therapist near me?’. Since you may be attending therapy on a weekly basis, it is important to take into account whether the journey to your therapist’s practice is viable. If you are wondering how to find a good therapist in your area, a quick way is to enter your postcode in the ‘location’ search box on the Prohealth Therapists page. The website will suggest recommended, independently-reviewed therapists within five miles of your location. You can sort the results by the therapists closest to you at the top right of the therapists page if distance is important to you.
While most areas have a number of therapists available, if you cannot find a therapist at the time or cost that suits you nearby, you may want to consider connecting with a therapist online via Skype. If you want to work with a specific therapist but they are based too far away, see if they offer Skype or phone therapy. By starting counselling online or by phone, you are not constricted to a specific geographic location. There is growing evidence that talking to a therapist or counsellor by video chat is effective for many issues. To find out more about the pros and cons of starting online therapy, read our online counselling help page here. Or, see our separate find a therapist pages for Manchester, Bristol and London.
2. Therapist registration
It is good practice for therapists to be registered with a professional association, such as the BACP, BPS, BABCP or UKCP. This means that they are accountable to their membership body’s guidelines on ethics and practice and that they have completed the appropriate training to gain their registration. You can check if a therapist is registered with a particular association on the association's website. On Prohealththerapy.com our team makes sure that all of the therapists on the platform are qualified, registered members of a reputable institution so that you can rest assured your therapist is accredited.
Qualified counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists in the UK will have spend at least three years studying and training. You can ask a therapist about their professional qualifications and training when you meet them, if you would like. While a therapist’s experience is important, at the heart of the therapy is a relationship between you and your therapist. You may find that a more newly-qualified therapist who you get along with, and who has a passion for working with your issues, may be a better match for you than a therapist with more experience but who you feel less comfortable with. To search by therapists with experience of treating specific psychological issues, you can use our search page here.
Wondering if therapy could help you? Watch our clip on how therapy can help here
Prohealth allows users to review their therapists. Independent reviews for each therapist are listed on their profile. If you are unsure of which therapist to choose and reviews are important to you, you can sort our therapists by their independent ratings from high to low (or click here to see our top rated therapists).
4. Therapist fees and availability
Therapy is an investment that can transform your life. It is worth considering whether the therapist you have chosen at the cost you are happy with is actually the best match for you in terms of their approach and their experience. On some therapist websites and directories, therapists' fees and session availability are not listed. This can make finding a therapist who is available at the time and cost suitable for you a lengthy and slow process, in which you have to call or email a number of therapists to find an appointment.
5. Therapist specialisms
Wondering ‘how do I find a therapist who specialises with a certain condition’? If you have a particular issue or area of your life that you are struggling with, such as depression or relationship problems, you might find it helpful to find therapists who are specialised in this area. To find a short list of therapists who have experience working with a specific area or condition, just choose what you would like help with here.
6. Gender of therapist
You may already have a preference as to the gender of your therapist or you may not find this important. If you would prefer to work with someone of a certain gender, you can choose therapists by gender upon request
7. Type of therapy
There are lots of different types of therapy, which can feel overwhelming at first. Our help guide on choosing a therapist based on your issues and goals is a simple way to understand what approach you think best suits your needs.
On this platform you can also choose to search by the underlying themes of the therapy types, if you would prefer not to choose a specific approach. For example, you could choose to find therapists to ‘explore the root of your concerns’, which would include therapists who help to understand the unconscious causes and past experiences that might influence your current feelings and issues. Alternatively you could choose to find therapists to ‘solve a specific problem’, for therapists who can help you to focus on how your thinking might be affecting a specific issue you would like to manage.
To find out more about specific therapy approaches, read our short guide about the main approaches to therapy here. You can also find out more about the different types of psychotherapists on our help page.
8. Therapist's personal approach
Each therapist on Prohealththerapy.com gives information about them and how they work on their profile so that you can find out more about them before you make a decision to book.
If you are wondering ‘how do I find a therapist I like?’ it is worth remembering that, like any relationship, trust with your therapist needs to built over time. However, during your initial sessions you may want to ask yourself if you could see yourself growing to trust your therapist in future, if they feel genuine and whether you feel listened to. Asking practical questions like these and following your instincts can help you to find the best match for you. You can also read our blog post ‘What if I don’t like my therapist?’ for more tips.
If after a few sessions you don’t feel that your therapist is the right fit for you, it is often helpful to talk to your therapist about this. They may be able to offer a new perspective about what next steps you could take.
9. Have an initial consultation
It is worth considering all of the above factors when you are looking for a therapist, but the best way to know whether you feel comfortable working with your therapist is to meet them for an initial session. After talking to them either in person, online or by phone, you will be able to ask them questions, they can tell you more about how they work and you can get a better feel for how you and your therapist will work together. To find out more about what to expect in a first counselling session, read our blog post here.
10. What if I choose the wrong therapist?
Every journey starts with a first step. While it might be disappointing to find you do not like your chosen therapist’s approach or that you do not connect with the first therapist you meet, it is better to try therapy and find out whether you find it helpful, rather than to not try at all. By trying more than one type of therapy, you might get to know yourself better and discover the right therapy to help you to transform your life.