Why is family therapy so important and what makes it different from other
forms of psychotherapy?
According to recent research, our intimate relationships are the single
most important factor in our lives. Warm intimate relationships help us to
feel gratified, successful, happy, and protect us from harm, both physical
and emotional. No matter how anxious, sad, or angry we may become,
our intimate relationships, if they are healthy, can ease the pain and
restore us. Family therapy recognizes this fact.
Family therapists are trained to understand how intimate relationships
can go awry and are trained to help get them back on track. We
understand that nearly all problems stem from either the lack of intimacy,
toxicity in relationships including many types of violence, loss, or
over-reliance on one or two others for all emotional needs.
I have been working with these principles for over 20 years and have
seen, first hand, that individuals with diagnoses such as depression,
anxiety, PTSD, and OCD have been able to heal significantly by
improving relationships with other important people in their lives such as
parents, husbands, wives, and children.
Where as many psychotherapists use the DSM to diagnosis their clients,
giving them a label that can follow them for a lifetime, family therapists
look at relationships and work to improve them. The DSM does not look
at problems in term of relationships. It assumes that all problems are
"individual" and originate inside the client/patient.
There are many articles, TED talks, books, and films that
demonstrate why family therapy is such an important way of helping
ourselves and our clients. Here is a sampling:
Happiness Is Other People by Ruth Whittman: https://nyti.ms/2iIoOzO.
This provocative article talks about how research demonstrates our need
for connection with others and our perplexing behavior in pursuing
Triumphs of Experience by George Vaillant. A wonderful book about the
Harvard Grant Study which over the course of 75 years has
demonstrated that warm intimate connections are more important
than any other factor in leading a gratifying life!
If you'd like to see a video I created about the struggles of family
therapists, click here:
Family Therapy - The Agony and the Ecstasy from Paula Ochs on
Vimeo. " target="_blank"> Family Therapy: The Agony and the Ecstasy
TED talk by Robert Waldinger:
A short video about the Harvard Grant Study. Why our connection to
others is the most important factor in leading a successful and gratifying
TED talk by Eleanor Longden:
This wonderful TED talk is about how psychiatry was a terrible mistake
for a young woman who heard voices and how her mother's love and
community saved her.
Read books and articles by Sal Minuchin, Cloe Madanes (especially
"Remembering Our Heritage") Maurizio Andolfi, Carl Whitaker, David
Keith, Peggy Papp.
Why Family Therapy?
Chrysalis Clinical Supervision,Training &
"Supervision in Action/Family Therapy in Action"