Leone Centre Glossary

Communication patterns in family therapy

Communication patterns

Understanding the dynamics of communication within a family is important for developing healthier relationships. In family therapy, communication patterns play a significant role in addressing conflicts and enhancing understanding among family members.

Issues addressed

Family therapy often deals with various communication issues, including misunderstandings, conflict escalation, and emotional disconnection. By identifying and modifying these patterns, families can work towards more harmonious interactions.

About communication patterns

Communication patterns in family therapy refer to the habitual ways in which family members interact and convey messages to one another. These patterns can either contribute to a supportive environment or perpetuate conflict and misunderstanding. Recognising these patterns allows therapists to guide families in adopting more productive communication practices.

How therapy can help

  1. Enhanced understanding: Families learn to express their thoughts and feelings more clearly and listen more actively.
  2. Conflict resolution: Improved communication helps in addressing and resolving conflicts in a healthier manner.
  3. Emotional connection: Strengthening communication patterns can encourage a deeper emotional connection among family members.

How therapy works

Therapists observe and analyse the interactions within the family to identify recurring patterns. Through various interventions, families are guided to develop new ways of communicating that promote understanding and cooperation. This process involves practising active listening, expressing emotions productively, and setting clear boundaries.


What are some common negative communication patterns?
Common negative patterns include criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, and contempt. These behaviours can create a toxic environment and escalate conflicts.
How can improving communication patterns benefit my family?
Improving communication can lead to better conflict resolution, stronger emotional bonds, and a more supportive and understanding family environment.
How long does it take to see changes in communication patterns?
The time required varies depending on the family’s dynamics and their commitment to change. Consistent effort and practice can lead to noticeable improvements over time.


  1. “Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods” by Michael P. Nichols and Sean Davis
  2. “The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder” by Randi Kreger
  3. “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life” by Marshall B. Rosenberg
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision