Family

Family therapy, parent counseling with children and teens, and family consultation are effective in helping families manage or resolve many types of problems.

The Relationship Center of South Florida provides family therapy to all kinds of parents, teens and families, including Spanish-speaking and LGBT.

We help families with the following problems:

  • Behavior and school problems with children and teens
  • Parenting issues
  • Step-parenting issues
  • Custody and visitation problems
  • Problems with adult children
  • Managing in-law conflicts
  • Aging parents

We consult and provide family therapy sessions with different combinations of family members, depending on circumstances and needs. These sessions may include one or more parent(s), with or without children, teens, adult siblings, and so on.

It can at times be helpful to include family therapy during the course of individual therapy. At other times, it may be necessary to conduct ongoing family therapy or parent-child counseling sessions, when the focus of concern is the family itself.

Why Family Therapy?

A focus on family relationships is important for many reasons. A pioneer in family therapy, Virginia Satir, said that, “When one person in a family … has (emotional) pain … all family members are feeling this pain in some way” (Conjoint Family Therapy, 1967).

We are all strongly influenced by the people around us. We grow up in a social structure, the family. And we develop many of our core values and beliefs from our family. Our religious and political beliefs and our values and beliefs regarding marriage, children and other relationships are generally learned from our parents and other family members. And even when we have beliefs that are very different from our parents, this may be due to a reaction against them or their beliefs.

Our problems in life generally occur within a social context. It can be argued that most of the time, when we are emotionally upset or distressed, it involves another person or group of people. Our emotional reactions are often predictable, because there is a pattern of re-activity that we can identify over time (“I always get very upset when that happens.”) This is due, in-part, to patterns of re-activity that are programmed into us during childhood. Jay Haley, another leader in the field of family therapy, put it this way: “… a problem is defined as a type of behavior that is part of a sequence of acts between several people. The repeating sequence of behavior is the focus of therapy” (Problem-Solving Therapy, 1976).

Salvador Minuchin, the founder of Structural Family Therapy, emphasized the need to see each of us as a product of our social structures. He says that, “Man’s experience is determined by his interaction with his environment” (Families and Family Therapy, 1974).

In this type of family therapy, the structure of the family itself is the object of change — not necessarily the individual members of the family. Minuchin found that by changing the way members of a family interact and perform, their functions (emotional as well as behavioral) will change emotionally and behaviorally as well.