Leone Centre Glossary

Family Therapy Approaches

Family Therapy Approaches

Family therapy approaches are various methods used by experienced therapists to improve communication, resolve conflicts, and enhance the overall functioning of a family. These approaches focus on developing understanding and cooperation among family members, allowing them to work together to address and overcome their challenges.

Common Issues Addressed

Family therapy approaches are utilised to address a wide range of issues, including marital disputes, parent-child conflicts, sibling rivalry, and the effects of external stressors such as financial difficulties or relocation. They are also beneficial in dealing with major life transitions, mental health concerns, and substance misuse within the family.

Family therapy approaches vary widely, each designed to address specific aspects of family dynamics. Some of the most commonly used approaches include:

  1. Structural Family Therapy: Focuses on restructuring the family system to improve communication and relationships.
  2. Systemic Family Therapy: Explores family patterns and how they influence behaviour, aiming to change dysfunctional dynamics.
  3. Narrative Therapy: Encourages family members to share their stories, helping them reframe their experiences and view problems from a different perspective.
  4. Communication Skills Training: Teaches communication methods, such as active listening and assertiveness, to improve interactions among family members.
  5. Behavioural Approaches : Focus on changing specific behaviours through reinforcement and modelling.

Key Features and Benefits

The approaches used in family therapy offer several key features and benefits:

  1. Enhanced communication and understanding among family members
  2. Improved conflict resolution and problem-solving skills
  3. Strengthened emotional bonds and relationships
  4. Development of healthy boundaries and roles within the family

These approaches are adaptable, allowing therapists to adapt their approach to the specific needs of each family, providing a supportive environment for addressing their unique challenges.


What are family therapy approaches?

Family therapy approaches are methods used by therapists to improve family dynamics, communication, and problem-solving. They include approaches like structural therapy, systemic therapy, narrative therapy, and communication skills training.

Who can benefit from family therapy approaches?

Any family experiencing conflicts, communication issues, or significant life changes can benefit from family therapy approaches. They are particularly helpful for families dealing with mental health issues, substance misuse, or major life transitions.

How are family therapy approaches applied?

Family therapy approaches are applied in therapy sessions facilitated by an experienced therapist. The therapist guides the family through discussions and exercises designed to improve communication, resolve conflicts, and enhance overall family functioning.


  1. British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy: Family Therapy
  2. NHS: Family Therapy
  3. Psychology Today: Family Therapy
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This glossary provides definitions of various counselling terms and approaches for informational purposes only, without implying endorsement or service provision