Types of Family Therapy Approaches

Family therapy is meant to improve interpersonal relationships among family members, couples and significant others. The family therapist typically prompts conversations that fortify and improve connections between loved ones.

Family therapy is performed differently depending on condition or circumstances being treated. Family therapy is enacted differently according to the mental health of subjects and similarly, family therapy style must be modified for those who have mental disorders, including substance dependent people.

There are a number of recovery-sensitive techniques implemented for family therapy including:

  • Structural
  • Strategic
  • Transgenerational
  • Communication
  • Psychoeducation
  • Relationship Counseling

Below, we will outline each type of family therapy style.

Family Therapy - Relationship Counseling - Couples Counseling - Family - Couples Therapy

Structural Family Therapy

Structural family therapy concentrates on the interactions between people and not their corresponding psyches. It is based on interactions within the family and based on social interactions.

The structural family therapist prompts the dysfunctional aspects of families to adapt towards more adhesive family attributes that suit familial needs.

Strategic Therapy

Strategic therapy is a style that involves five stages:

  1. Social stage
  2. Problem stage
  3. Interactional stage
  4. Goal-setting stage
  5. Task-setting stage

During strategic therapy, you and your family will participate in goal-oriented exercises to promote growth.

Transgenerational Therapy

Transgenerational therapy examines family systems across many generations and hunts for the main issues within the family. This type of therapy is also referenced as “family of origin” exploration. The therapist looks for current issues, and attempts to link them to future struggles or stressful scenarios.

Communication Therapy

Communication therapy is therapy that focuses on communication issues between family members and couples.

Communication schisms often result from differences in cultural, religious, geographic and personal experiences. Communication issues may also be associated with trauma, secrecy and mental health issues.

The overall goal, as it is in all types of family therapy, is to help improve communication skills and abilities via better active listening, and lines of communication.


Psychoeducation is the practice of teaching those with substance use disorders and their families the nature of addiction, to help conceptualize the ways in which substance use impacts the family and the ways that the family impacts substance use.

Psychoeducation has four core goals in mind:

  1. Providing pertinent substance abuse/family information
  2. Understanding medication-assisted treatment where applicable
  3. Training and support in self-help
  4. Provides a safe space to vent

Psychoeducation teaches you and your family members information about the impacts of addiction on the mind, body, and spirit.

Relationships Counseling

Relationships counseling, regardless of whether its parent-child, spouse-spouse, significant other-significant other, is a common denominator within the family therapy venue. Relationships can be difficult and simple day-to-day problems can increase stress or strain within relationships.

Other contributing factors include, chronic illness, ineffective communication skills, infidelity, emotional distancing, trust-mistrust issues and financial issues.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is an integral part of any comprehensive substance use disorder treatment program. Bringing families back together in therapy is an incredibly important part of drug or alcohol treatment programs. While it can be a difficult process, allowing each person a space to vent, apologize, and heal can be an overwhelmingly healing experience.

Reach Out

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