Frequently Asked Questions About Family Therapy

Promoting Family Mental Health During The Pandemic

Family therapy is a helpful tool for strengthening bonds within your family. This treatment aims to improve communication, strengthen the family’s decision-making skills, and solve relationship problems.

Family therapy deals with family dynamics and relations. Although different from individual treatment, it can still work alongside.

For example, a patient going through therapy for their eating habits will need their family’s support. With the whole family attending the session, the therapist can address external factors affecting the patient’s behavior.


Therapists typically use family systems therapy. With this, they treat the family as a single unit. Several approaches fall under this type of therapy.

The approaches include strategic family therapy, structural family therapy, and integrational family therapy. It is the role of the therapist to identify which of these approaches suit a specific family best.

Although family therapy is a common and beneficial practice, there are still misconceptions about it. Some may think therapy is only for broken or suffering families.

But in reality, families go through therapy for many reasons. Some seek family mental health help to address trauma or grief. Meanwhile, others need assistance for children with ADHD or teenagers suffering from substance abuse. Still, some would seek help for eating disorders and other mental illnesses.

At the same time, family therapists can also help adults going through financial troubles. But then, some families also seek therapy to improve their family dynamics. Some may perceive these issues negatively, but these situations are all part of human nature.

Other pushing points may also include significant changes, like a child moving away for school or a blended family coming together.

Additionally, some people who know about family therapy may still have far too many unanswered questions. And the thing is, it may be challenging to gather up all answers in one reading.

Below are FAQs regarding family therapy to inform you and clear any misconceptions you may have about it. Here, you will also learn about what you can expect at a family therapy clinic, including session duration and costs.

You can also expect an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of this therapy to guide you.

What do family therapists do?

Family therapists help mend relationships within your household. By looking at each member’s individual role and power dynamics, family therapists can improve your family member’s mental health.

They can help treat depression, anxiety, and other psychological problems caused by or related to your family. Although they may conduct individual interviews or sessions, family therapists apply a family-centric approach to therapy.

How much does an MFT charge per hour?

A marital and family therapist usually charges around $100 per session. However, the cost of therapy ranges from $70 to $250 per hour. Thus, rates may vary depending on your MFT. Some family therapists accept insurance, so make sure your provider also covers costs for therapy.

Is an MFT a psychologist?

MFTs and clinical psychologists are both part of the core mental health professionals but are different in their ways. Before passing as MFTs, they must attain a master’s degree and receive at least two years of supervised clinical training.

On the other hand, clinical psychologists must accomplish a doctorate and train for at least a year. Aside from educational and training background, an MFT is specialized in treating mental disorders within the context of a relationship.

In comparison, clinical psychologists focus more on treating conditions with an individual-focused approach.

What typically happens in family therapy?

First, the MFT asks what problems are bothering your family and how each member views these situations. The MFT will then interview each member to determine the individual roles in the family. By learning about these respective roles, your family therapist will understand your familial relations.

Aside from helping you in your weaknesses, MFTs also find your family’s strengths so you can maintain such habits. Your therapist will then provide you with health treatment plans and serve as a mediator for conflict within the family.

Can therapists treat family members?

Family therapists treat family members by addressing the symptoms associated with mental conditions. At times, solving family crises can help improve the mental health conditions of family members.

However, there are instances when factors outside of the family cause mental health conditions. Thus, these family members with other mental health disorders can seek help from clinical psychologists instead.

What are the disadvantages of family therapy?

During family therapy, there is a tendency to have differing interpretations of a session. This disparity can sometimes lead to further conflicts, which may add difficulty to mending familial relationships.

In some situations, family therapy may teach younger children to bottle up feelings and thoughts instead of sharing them. However, with a proper approach, these disadvantages can be avoided altogether.

Like most treatment methods, family therapy has both advantages and disadvantages to your family dynamic. At the onset, family therapy brings to light all the complications at home to the point of creating tension.

What is the difference between family therapy and individual therapy?

Family therapy focuses on social factors such as communication and relationships in addressing your mental health problems. On the other hand, individual therapy emphasizes self-esteem, personality building, mindfulness, and different cognitive-behavioral approaches.

Another difference lies in the goals of each treatment. Both therapy approaches aim to improve the patients’ mental health, but family therapy also focuses on fixing your familial relationship.

Family therapy and individual therapy can improve the mental health even when they differ in the treatment approach.


How does family systems therapy work?

Family systems therapy views the family as a single emotional unit. This kind of treatment speaks about how each family member’s behavior is affected by its origins, functions, and relationship.

Family systems therapy thus determines how the family dynamic affects each person. By knowing how the family dynamic works, families can work together to control their situations better.

Should family members have the same therapist?

There are some benefits to having the same therapist, especially if family members need medical attention due to problems arising at home. However, it is not always the case.

In some situations, it can also be unhealthy for family members to have the same therapist. Having the same therapist can create some tension and increase the risks of confidentiality breaches.

Censoring parts of a story can also become useless if your other family member shares the same tale unfiltered.

How long do therapy sessions usually last?

Individual therapy sessions usually last 40-60 minutes, while group therapies may last up to 90 minutes. Consequently, family therapy can take up 50-55 minutes of your time.

Family therapy sessions also tend to be shorter as compared to other types of treatments. Family therapies usually last 12 sessions. However, some families can extend for more periods depending on their specific situation.

Which type of therapy is best?

It depends on what you need. To get the best results, it is essential to know which type of therapy is most appropriate for your condition. Family therapy focuses on shared experiences and relationships, which is a core of psychodynamic therapy.

There are also other therapies such as psychodynamic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to change your patterns and habits of thinking and feeling.

While, psychodynamic therapy focuses on how your previous experiences and future desires affect your thoughts and feelings. Psychodynamic therapy also includes studying an individual’s interaction with other people.

Why do people go to family therapy?

People go to family therapy to mend a troubled relationship and address specific problems with their spouse or children. The need to cure complications such as alcoholism or depression can also be the pushing force for some.

Through family therapy, household members can learn how to communicate effectively to create a healthily functioning family. Also, people who need a better understanding of household dynamics and problem solving also seek family therapy.

Lastly, families suffering from a shared traumatic experience, such as losing a loved one, are more inclined to seek help.

What are the advantages of family therapy?

Attending family therapy can help you understand the family dynamics and improve your problem solving and decision-making skills. Developing a deeper empathic connection is also a benefit of attending therapy together with your family.

Aside from bridging the gaps among members, family therapy also helps you build healthy boundaries to avoid overstepping and micromanagement.

Overall, these advantages result in a more understanding and loving family environment with reduced levels of conflict.


What are the pros and cons of insisting that the entire family attend the initial consultation?

The pros of having the complete family during the initial consultation include providing a factual basis to your MFT. During the initial consultation, your MFT will learn about your problems at home and how such situations affect every family member.

Another advantage of attending together is being able to set a goal you can work on together as a family. However, insisting on attending the initial consultation can lead to irritation. It might discourage family members, causing them to shut off emotions further.


And that concludes our list of FAQs about family therapy. Therapy brings about different results per family. But it is evident in its primary goal of improving your relations.

Now that you know more about family therapy, you can take steps to improve your relations from within your household.

When finding a family therapist, make sure you get someone with sufficient credibility. A therapist with proper education and extensive experience will be vital to the success of the therapy.

Also, make sure that your therapist has adequate space to accommodate all family members. Family therapy can go on for a long time, so you also have to consider your healthcare provider’s insurance policies.

With the pandemic, there have been new restrictions that limit trips outside the house. In place of the traditional face to face therapy, you can opt for online family therapy instead. Through this, all members of the family can attend the treatment at once.

Online counseling is also an excellent alternative if you have grown-up children living away for work or schooling. Not only will it keep things more convenient for you logistically, but online therapy also helps you save up on costs.

So, as long as you have stable internet and a working computer, you can get the help that your family needs.