An Introduction to Different Family Therapy Techniques

Dr. Miriam Galindo is a licensed social worker and clinical psychologist based out of Irvine, California. For more than a decade, Dr. Miriam Galindo has emphasized family law services and family therapy.

One of the overarching ideas behind family therapy is that a family, in many ways, functions as a single emotional unit. The feelings and actions of one family member affect all other members, and those members subsequently go on to further influence one another. With that in mind, there are a few different approaches a professional can take to family therapy.

Structural family therapy, for example, closely examines the family dynamic within a therapeutic setting. In a controlled environment, therapists can better identify family subsystems, such as those that occur between siblings. Established by Salvador Minuchin, role-playing is a common technique utilized during structural family therapy.

Strategic family therapy, on the other hand, prioritizes work outside of a therapeutic session. Paradoxical intervention is a popular technique used by strategic family therapists, like Jay Haley and Cloe Madanes. During an occurrence of paradoxical intervention, a therapist will encourage a family or a certain member to pursue a course of action that seems at odds with the family’s desired therapeutic goals. When successfully used, paradoxical intervention can quickly help family members appreciate the gap between what they desire as a family unit and what their present behaviors resemble.

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