Family therapy views a person’s symptoms as taking place in the larger context of the family. Just as a particular department in a business organization may suffer because of the problems in another department, a person with depression may be responding to larger family issues. For example, a depressed adolescent’s symptoms may be related to her parents’ marital problems.
Family therapy is a style where cognitive behavior or interpersonal therapy may be employed. However, it is most often used with interpersonal therapy. Some special techniques of family therapy include:
- Genogram — A genogram is a family tree constructed by the therapist. It looks at past relationships and events and what impact these have on the person’s current emotional technique.
- Systemic Interpretation — Views depression as a symptom of a problem in the larger family.
Example — 16-year-old Billy’s getting into trouble in school and staying out at night are viewed as unconscious attempts to shore up his parents’ failing marriage. It is noted in the sessions that the only time his parents get along and work together as a team is when they are dealing with Billy’s problems.
- Communication Training — Dysfunctional communication patterns within the family are identified and corrected. People are taught how to listen, ask questions and respond non-defensively.