Family Therapy and systemic practice is an approach to understanding and changing human difficulties, that gives attention to both the inside and outside world of people and the relationship between the two. It addresses and incorporates the wider system and the endemic inequalities due to gender, race, advantage and ability which shape lives and underpin difficulties which present to therapy. The focus is on family as the context where problems may be generated in the past and perpetuated in the present. By working with the repetitive patterns of interaction between family members and their world, symptoms can be understood and resolved.
Family therapy and systemic practice in use at Bower Place is premised on the Bower Place Method which draws together theory and practice from a range of sources, incorporating original knowledge.
Who can we help with family therapy?
When we hear the word ‘family therapy’ it conjures up a picture of Mum, Dad and 2.5 children sitting with an earnest therapist looking angrily at each other. Yet family therapy is so much more than addressing family conflict and disharmony and is, in fact, a valuable approach for children, adolescents and adults in families and social groups of all configurations and types.
Testimony to this is the two most recently published reviews by Carr (2014, 2018a) in the Journal of Family Therapy. The first presents evidence for the effectiveness of systemic interventions for families of children and adolescents and supports the effectiveness of systemic interventions ‘for sleep, feeding and attachment problems in infancy; recovery from child abuse and neglect; conduct problems, emotional problems, eating disorders, somatic problems, and first episode psychosis’ (Carr, 2018a). Similarly, review of the evidence for adults demonstrates the effectiveness of such approaches for ‘relationship distress, psychosexual problems, intimate partner violence, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, alcohol problems, schizophrenia and adjustment to chronic physical illness’ (Carr 2014, p. 2).