Family Therapy

Sometimes this is called systemic therapy or systemic practice- to acknowledge that children, young people and their families are part of a “system”. As well as family members, the system around a child/ young person can include school, friends, work colleagues, Church/Faith group, neighbours or other professionals involved in a child or young person’s care. This system can influence how people feel and behave.

Family therapy  involves family members (and/or important others in the system) meeting to understand each other’s points of view, to build on existing strengths and make changes to improve relationships and behaviours. Family Therapy can also see people on their own, e.g. a child or young person, a sibling group, parents only, parents and grandparents etc. Through these different types of meetings Family Therapy works flexibly to help people understand as much as they can from each person’s point of view and to plan how to make changes.

At a Family Therapy appointment you may be introduced to a therapy “team”- this is one or two extra clinicians who are asked to listen and think whilst the therapist and family/system talk to each other. The teams job is to be helpful  through making  observations/suggestions either to the therapist or the family, literally “two heads are better than one” in solving a problem.

For children and young people Family therapy is an evidenced based treatment for:

  • ADHD
  • Conduct disorder
  • Depression
  • Self harm
  • Eating disorders
  • First episode psychosis
  • Some attachment disorders

Family Therapy- an animated introduction:


You can read the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice's leaflet about Family Therapy HERE.