about  therapy :
What is Family & Systemic Psychotherapy?

about  therapy :
What is Family & Systemic Psychotherapy?

Systemic and Family Therapy is a treatment approach that can enable people in relationships (systems) to create and develop useful changes in therapy together.

It enables family members, couples and others who care about each other to express and explore their thoughts and emotions safely, to understand each other's experiences and views, and appreciate each other's needs. I aim to recognise and build on any strengths and work in partnership to help facilitate change. Individuals can also find systemic therapy useful as an opportunity to reflect on important relationships and/or significant life events and explore how these may organise or inform a new way forward.

Research shows that Systemic Family Therapy is useful for children, families, parents, carers, young people, couples and adults experiencing a very wide range of difficulties and experiences. See Nice guidelines and Association of Family Therapy websites.

Asking for help isn’t giving up...It’s refusing to give up

Charlie Mackesy

Making the Decision to Start Therapy together

Sometimes decisions about starting therapy are not that straight forward. There can be times when family members and/or individuals may hold different perspectives and views about what needs to change or what is considered to be the problem, or even whether help is needed at all.

If there is any reluctance and/or resistance from a family member(s) or individual that is delaying arranging an assessment session it may be useful to meet with me separately in an initial assessment session to discuss this. Reluctance is understandable as coming to therapy can be a difficult decision that can evoke anxiety, confusion and ambivalence for many individuals.

There can be times when an individual may refuse to attend and/or engage in family therapy together with certain members. I would encourage those willing and wanting to attend to do so to consider whether family therapy could still be useful even if someone remains unwilling. There may be times when I, or a family member, arranges to meet me separately for certain needs, such as establishing trust, developing my understandings or to support openness.

Relationships as a resource to recovery

I strongly believe that relationships can be a resource to recovery, and therefore we can (often unknowingly) also delay or hinder the change identified as needed. Without the need or time for blame, recognising how we influence, inform and organise problems can be an empowering experience that has the potential for personal and relational growth and development.

First Steps: The initial assessment

If you and/or family members decide to attend an initial assessment session with me, you can expect me to work with these guiding principles and intentions. The initial assessment session usually lasts up to 90 minutes, any subsequent agreed sessions will last between 60 to 90 minutes depending on the need and number of people joining.

An assessment session aims to gather the relevant information needed to best understand the identified problem(s) and hopes for therapy. Questions may also include details such as who lives with who, developing a family genogram and any previous experience of therapy and/or other treatments for the identified or similar problem(s).

I would endeavour to include, respect and encourage all views to be heard, understood and explored that will inform the process towards positive change. I will also adapt my ways of working according to the needs, ages, resources and preferences of people present.

How many Therapy Sessions do you need?

Some families arrange several therapy sessions once they decide to continue with me. However some people prefer to arrange session by session, which depending on availability is equally possible. During the initial assessment session I can discuss and advise on the number of therapy sessions recommended for your particular need.

Sometimes difficulties are more complex and people may need longer to find solutions and ways forward that work for them. However for some people, problems or circumstances it may not take many sessions to find a new way forward.

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