How Structural Family Therapy Can Help Your Family Unit

Updated May 08, 2019

Families don't always have an easy time getting along. Sometimes there might be friction between two or more members of any given family. It is normal for families to fight but there are situations where family squabbles can get into unhealthy territory. If your family is not functioning properly as a loving and supporting unit, then you may want to think about seeking help.

Dysfunctional families can cause a lot of problems for people. To keep things from getting worse, it may be worthwhile to look into structural family therapy. If you aren't familiar with this type of therapy, then it will be good to learn some more about it. By reading this article, you will be able to understand better how this type of therapy is capable of helping your family unit and will know what needs to be done to achieve results.


What Is Structural Family Therapy?

To understand the structural family therapy model properly, it is important to examine what this type of therapy does. When you are receiving this type of therapy, your family is going to be examined by a professional therapist. They will take a deep look at how your family interacts with one another. This can help them to determine the problems that are present in the family unit.

This type of therapy is a great tool for helping people to understand what is causing the conflict within their family. It might seem like a simple thing, but sometimes people aren't aware of the little things that are causing friction. Using structural family therapy as a guide on how to improve the ways your family interacts can be very helpful. Whether or not it will work well for your family is tough to determine, but it has provided proven results for many people.

The idea behind this structural family therapy program is to change the entire family rather than focusing on one individual. When one individual is focused on as the source of all of the problems, they wind up feeling alienated and think that they are being treated unfairly. Usually, the cause of problems within a family unit is more complex than the actions of a single person. Determining what is going on with the entire family unit is a good way to get the necessary information to help fix things.

Ultimately, the goal of a successful structural family therapy session is to facilitate better communication between family members. If people can talk to each other in the right ways, then they will be able to get along better than they did before. It can be possible to come to an understanding, and you will avoid many of the problems that have caused your family to be seen as dysfunctional. Structural family therapy techniques work well for many people, so you should go into this type of therapy with an open mind.

Where Do You Go For Structural Family Therapy?

The places that you may go to get this type of therapy can differ. Of course, some professional therapists and psychologists employ these methods. Private psychiatric practices are a good location for structural family therapy methods. You will also see programs like this implemented in mental health clinics, special rehab programs, and even in certain schools.

If you are specifically seeking out help for your family, then you should probably contact a private psychiatric practice. They will be able to set up a time that is convenient for your family to go through the therapy. The methods for how this therapy is implemented may differ between two different practices. For the most part, the therapy should begin with the psychiatrist or therapist observing your family interactions.


Once this has been done, the person in charge will make some observations and begin to ask questions. They may have suggestions for how you should change your communication methods. They will also draw out some sort of chart that represents the overall structure of your family. This chart will have information about how the family is laid out, the specific relationships between everyone, and even boundaries that exist between people. A good chart will even acknowledge subgroups that have formed within a family to address issues of exclusion and other pertinent topics.

The therapist or psychiatrist that is in charge will be able to determine a lot of information from this chart. They can use the information to promote changes within your family structure. Changing things will involve communicating with the family, suggesting that certain actions be taken, sometimes asking personal questions, and even trying to eliminate unhealthy dynamics within the family structure. It is a pretty complex process, but it can yield positive results when the family is committed to making the necessary changes.

Structural Family Therapy Interventions

Sometimes there will even be structural family therapy interventions. This can occur when certain members of the family recognize the overall dysfunction of the family unit. They may approach the therapist and set up an intervention of sorts. Typically, this occurs when one or more family members are having severe problems. Sometimes these family members may have a mental illness and other times it may be that someone in the family is using drugs.

Either way, an intervention can be an effective method of promoting change within a family unit. The other family members want to change things to help their loved one(s). Even if one particular member of the family is suffering the most, the acknowledgment that the entire family has things to work on will help them to feel more comfortable with seeking help. A successful intervention should never be about ganging up on someone, as things are much more successful when they come from a place of love rather than scorn.

These interventions can be about preventing abusive behavior in some cases as well. If one member of the family has a bad temper and lashes out in an emotionally abusive way towards other family members, then an intervention may be necessary. The idea is to promote changes, and this type of therapy can help to bring drastic changes about. It isn't a foolproof process, as people need to be willing to change for the good of their family for things to work out properly.

Structural Family Therapy Strengths And Weaknesses


This type of therapy has the potential to work out very well. It can help a family to promote change and craft more loving relationships moving forward. It can also backfire and wind up making things worse if some of the family members feel slighted by this process. In most cases, it is a risk worth taking.

You can find a structural family therapy example that has worked out fantastically without having to look too deeply. Some so many families have touted the success of this type of therapy. Sometimes this therapy can open the eyes of certain family members to things that they never knew about. A father may not have been aware that his son felt he wasn't loved, and the realization that he caused his son pain can be profound. Discovering the reasons behind dysfunctional family habits can be emotional, but they can also bring a family closer together than ever before.

Before moving forward with this type of therapy, you should try to ask yourself some questions. Ask yourself whether your family is truly in need of therapy to function. Determine whether or not your family would even be open to such a process. If the people in your family unit are not open-minded about such things, then the likelihood of a successful outcome is drastically diminished.

This is a process that takes a full commitment. That is the overall weakness of structural family therapy. If people don't want to take the process seriously, then they will simply ignore the advice and continue down the same path. There has to be a desire to change and a willingness to open up about many personal topics.

Does My Family Need This Therapy?

Whether or not your family is at the point where therapy is necessary will be hard to determine. If your family unit has been suffering for years and communication between family members is tough, then you may want to look into therapy. When you love all of your family members but cannot seem to function properly as a family unit, it can be worth taking a shot at doing the therapy. It just might be better than continuing down the same old paths.

There are other ways that you can consider making changes too. For instance, you can try to change yourself to see if it has an impact on your family dynamic. This method won't always be the most effective, but it can provide you with some positive results. Simply trying to communicate in a calm and understanding fashion with your family may help you to improve your family relations over time.

If all else fails, you can always bring up the idea of family therapy. Just make sure that the suggestion comes from a place of genuinely wanting to improve your relationship with your family. Suggesting therapy as a counteraction to someone's negative behavior will send the wrong message. Successful therapy can be as much about timing as it is about how you go about the therapy. People need to be willing to hear a message to receive it.

You May Want To Consider Counseling


Counseling can be very beneficial. If your family is not willing to go through with structural family therapy, then you may be frustrated. You can still seek out professional help that can be great for coping with this situation. You don't even have to leave your house to get this counseling either.

Signing up over at will allow you to be matched with a professional counselor online. You can speak to them about the issues with your family, any anxiety that you are suffering from, and even feelings of depression. Having someone to talk to can help you to feel better about the situation, and you will be able to maintain a more positive attitude. You may even be able to talk members of your family into joining in on counseling sessions in the future when the time is right.

This option is fantastic for those who are too nervous to go out and see a therapist in person. It is discreet, and it allows you to get the support that you need. If you feel like this is something that you would be interested in, then you should consider it. Signing up is easy, and you can always count on a caring counselor to be your ally when you need one the most.

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