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The Importance of Family Therapy

While a major aspect of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis is to help individuals, it also includes something we call as family therapy. In contrast with individual treatment, this field focuses on the interpersonal aspects among a group of people, in particular those with close ties. While a therapist in an individual therapy only aims to help a sole person work on major issues in his life, in a family therapy he takes a more rounded approach by considering the way a couple or a whole family works together, and identifies the areas that need some intervention.

While there are various approaches to family therapy, therapists mostly focus on observing how individuals in a family interact with each other, and how these interactions affect their relationships. They may teach family members to acknowledge the behaviors that will most likely damage their relationships. Specific skills such as active listening may also be taught, especially if there are misunderstandings in the family. 

In cases wherein a family has individual members with severe mental health issues that might affect their relationships if left untreated, therapists may focus on their individual needs. For instance, if there is a person within the family suffering from untreated major depression or alcoholism, he might be connected with another therapist who can spend more time on him to help him overcome these conditions. In general, family therapists do not put all their efforts to helping just one family member. Instead, he helps the whole family and must not in any way show that he prefers one person more than the other members of the family. While this may be very difficult to do, maintaining this kind of atmosphere in a therapeutic setting can help assure that every member of the family would feel taken care of.