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Goals of Family Treatment

Family Treatment Goals

Counseling should be initiated with all family members present with the family therapist. Once individuals are thinking in family systems terms, they can become more objective and avoid the emotional reactivity that hinders treatment and change. The ultimatefamily treatment goal is to use different techniques that help dysfunctional families identify and work to solve their issues.

Systems theory therapy begins with a focus on the presenting problem or the symptomatic family member, with the hope that the family system will reveal itself around these initial issues. The goal is then to introduce family members to a broader way of conceptualizing and experiencing their problems. This approach typically achieves the following: — Primary problems in family functioning are delineated. — Scapegoating is neutralized. — Guilt and blame decrease. — Empathy for differences increases. — Family myths and nonfunctional rules are challenged. — New agreements for living together can be formed.

As the therapist monitors a family’s struggle over time, covert rules of family life become overt and the family experiments with different ways of relating, communicating, and living together. Openly discussing issues and exposing family secrets often brings great relief and reduces tension.

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