FAMILY THERAPY: The Six Fields Of Family Functioning


As a family therapist, one of the ways I try to explore what is going on in relationships and how best to help the family is to understand how the family functions. One of the assessments I use helps me to look at a family through an organizational lens and reports on how the family is functioning as if it were a company. Families and organizations are quite different from each other, so this is just one of many ways to understand how a family organizes itself.


ORGANIZATION

Just like a company, every family has an overall goal of successfully achieving various tasks of development and to weather the storms of life. In order to do this, the family must organize itself to know who is doing what and when. Understanding the 'chain of command' in a family is quite important, although sometimes has an outdated feel to it.


PARTICIPATION

The degree to which family members participate in accomplishing their tasks in the family is important for a family therapist to know. Participation in this sense can be as broad as deciding who cooks to where the family goes on vacation.


COMMUNICATION

To get anything done, family members have to communicate clearly so that roles and tasks are defined and decisions are made. In my experience as a family therapist, 'communication' is often the most identified area for improvement.


EMOTION

Unlike an organization, the family must be able to express a wide range of feelings to help members feel safe and to provide encouragement and support. The degree to which emotion is expressed helps family members feel loved, supported and encouraged.


CONNECTION

The family has to provide the right amount of support and encouragement to give individuals so that they can be satisfied and content while not being overbearing – this is the balance between closeness and emotional distance that families struggle with.


DIRECTION

This scale looks at how much influence or ‘managing’ individuals in the family experience – too little direction or influence could be chaotic, and too much could feel controlling.



This is just one of the tools I use in family assessments as part of the family therapy services I provide to clients in West Hollywood and Los Angeles. Completing assessments such as this is often not associated with family therapy, however when working with families in a family systems model, I have found it to be essential to get a grasp of what areas I can help in. When problem areas are identified quickly, treatment can be faster and more efficient making family therapy a short-term option to improving quality of relationships at home.



FAMILY THERAPY SERVICES IN LOS ANGELES


Family Therapy can be helpful for parents looking to improve or understand the following ideas:

BEHAVIORAL ISSUES • BOUNDARIES • COMMUNICATION • FAMILY CONFLICT • BLENDED FAMILY ISSUES • CO-PARENTING THROUGH DIVORCE • PARENTING SUPPORT • SCHOOL REFUSAL • FAMILY TRANSITIONS • GRIEF & LOSS • ILLNESS • NSSI • SELF-HARM • DEPRESSION • ANXIETY • EATING DISORDERS • SUBSTANCE USE