My Family Counselling training was grounded in the Milan School of Family Therapy, which is one of many systemic approaches. The Milan model believes that people can be best understood in the context of the whole family.
I integrate the Milan theory with Michael Whites Narrative systemic approach. It takes the view ‘the problem is the problem, the person is not the problem‘. This approach believes we live our lives according to the stories we tell ourselves and the stories others tell about us, this affects the way we live from day to day and thereby impacts on our future. I collaborate with their clients to help them step away from negative stories to discover their preferred story, this is known as re-authorising the story.
In family counselling it is usual to work with different combinations of family members and confidentiality is re-addressed before those sessions begin.
Family therapy, also known as systemic therapy, is an approach that works with families and those in close relationships,regardless of whether they are blood related or not, to foster change. Systemic therapists have a view that difficulties do not arise within individuals but in the relationships, interactions and the language that develop between individuals. In understanding difficulties, systemic therapists explore the connections between the beliefs and behaviours within families.
I use a systemic approach when working with families. This approach regards the family, as a whole, that together each member may have played some part in the development of the ‘problem’. The emphasis is placed on such factors as relationships and communication patterns rather than traits or symptoms in individual members.
Family therapy is based on family systems theory, which understands the family to be a living organism that is more than the sum of its individual members.
Problems are treated by changing the way the system works rather than trying to “fix” a specific member. Family systems theory is based on several major concepts:
Families may present themselves in family counselling for many reasons but basically what most members of any family say they want is to be able to have a more harmonious relationship with other members of the family. Family counselling offers the opportunity for every member of the family to collaborate in finding a way that works for all of them.
Through family counselling everyone has an equal opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings. In many situations this in itself leads to greater understanding others points of view. Together with the family I explore what solution(s) would work best within their family. This will then lead us on to the next step of putting their ideas and goals into workable arrangement for the whole of the family.