Family Therapy

Family therapy has established and proved itself as an independent therapy method a few years ago. In the meantime family therapists have developed a wide diversity of therapeutical techniques. They all have one thing in common: The focus is not on the individual but on the social system which family members live in.

Every family has developed their own communication structures. The character of the family is shaped by the expectations and behaviours, by its members’ character and by the society the family lives in.

Corresponding to the different theoretical concepts the therapist will either concentrate their attention on the communication within the family or advance particular members so that they can develop satisfying relationships to the others.

Because all family members interact by their actions and “non-actions” the recovery of one member can cause others to react (sicken).

Familes have specific rules and own forms of balance which are always exposed to loads: influences from outside as well as from changes and “entries” of members, e.g. birth of a child or death of a relative.

The family as a whole and the members as individuals need to be flexible and adaptive in order to face up to the constant challenges. Excessive demands and emotional lacks often cause disturbances within the family: the family becomes sick.

The family therapy tries to look for the disturbance’s causes together with all members; then it practises more appropriate rules and behaviours so that the family as a whole can react better to trials which come again and again. This psychoanalysis-oriented short-term method tracing back to Michael Balint (1896–1970) is particularly sensible

  • when a life conflict has led to a critical situation,
  • when a next step out of this difficult situation is necessary and inevitable, but not possible,
  • when this next step requires a decision which isn’t clear yet.

In a limited sequence of 12 to 25 meetings the family and the therapist try to find out whether there is an inner formula in the focus which causes these problems and to clarify its context within the family’s history and its current effects.

At the beginning of the therapy it is crucial that the therapist and the patients together work out to what extent the problem can be restrained in this way or whether a long-term therapy is more reasonable and necessary.