Various Types Of Family Psychiatry And Therapy

Various Types Of Family Psychiatry & Therapy

August 23, 2023

If a family member has a mental illness, it can affect the entire family. Psychiatrists specializing in family psychology can help families learn to cope with their loved one’s mental health issues and find healthier solutions to conflict and distress.

Therapists use various approaches in family therapy, including psychodynamic, structural/strategic, and systemic. They also utilize cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, rational emotive therapy and exposure therapy.


Psychodynamic therapy focuses on the interplay of an individual’s unconscious internal experiences, conflicts and structures with their present-day interpersonal interactions. It views the therapeutic process as a relationship between client and therapist that provides a safe and healthy environment for clients to gain insight into self-defeating behavior patterns and emotional reactions.

Insight can occur in the form of a sudden flash of understanding or a gradual recognition of feelings and motivations that were previously repressed. Wisdom can also be gained through examining your thoughts and daydreams, which can reveal hidden motives, fears and hopes.

This type of therapy has a long-standing emphasis on the central role that early family relationships play in shaping personality and the manifestation of mental disorders. Research supports the efficacy of adding short-term psychodynamic therapy to drug counseling for opiate dependents in methadone maintenance programs.


Psychiatrists who use a strategic or structural approach to family psychiatry and therapy focus on improving communication and establishing healthier patterns of interaction. They also offer several educational opportunities to help families understand mental health conditions and improve their ability to respond to them.

It is a relationship-centered approach, which often involves the use of empathetic listening and joining techniques. It uses boundary-testing, accommodation, and structural family mapping strategies to foster understanding and create healthy interactions.

This style of therapy typically lasts 12 sessions. One small study found that educating a family about their loved one’s psychiatric condition and ways to support them during the treatment process helps help them establish healthier patterns of behavior at home. It can also improve the quality of family interactions and reduce stress levels. This can benefit the index patient’s recovery and overall quality of life.


A systemic family therapist employs systems thinking–the ability to evaluate parts of a whole about the entire system–to assess and treat family problems. This approach focuses on the belief that all family members are connected through emotional bonds and that a problem in one family member may create or contribute to other issues within the family. For example, when a teenager has an alcohol use disorder, the family’s codependent relationships enable the problem and allow it to continue.

Family systems therapists also utilize the principles of change theory, which suggests that changing one aspect of a family will affect changes in other areas. Beginning therapists are often attracted to this type of therapy because it is less complex than psychodynamic therapy. However, starting therapists must be able to deal with the guarded facade that some families put up and not fall prey to their ploys to communicate outside of sessions.


The common psychotherapy this approach involves interpersonal counseling and focuses on relationships in people’s lives. It treats various clinical conditions, including depression.

During the initial phase, which often requires one to three sessions, the therapist will assist the patient in identifying their issue. It might be an unsolved dispute, a grudge, or a dysfunctional communication style.

The therapist and patient concentrate on solving their chosen problem throughout the middle phase. They impart different coping mechanisms and treat any underlying issues that might be a factor in the case.

Family-focused therapy addresses the ways that a patient’s familial system supports or exacerbates their depression symptoms, such as by providing an outlet for critical or hostile feelings or avoiding discussions of the disorder. Therapists work to re-channel any aggression, promote re-engagement of family members who have checked out, and encourage the development of age-appropriate self-sufficiency.

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