The 5 Different Types of Family Therapy

Different Types of Family Therapy

Family therapy is psychotherapy focusing on complicated interactions between family members and couples. Drawing upon the assumption that what goes on in family relations has an enormous influence on our mental health, family therapy reaches beyond an individual problem of conflict within any member to incorporate the dynamic interaction that exists among the family and surroundings.

Many states use this therapeutic approach, which is very popular in Virginia, where it is practiced to address issues such as conflict, distress, and dysfunctional behavior that arise due to interaction and interrelatedness within a family setting.

When it comes to therapy in Virginia, understanding different varieties of family therapy could come in handy while identifying the most appropriate method, which will suit different people being treated accordingly.

Different family counseling techniques and models targeted at addressing distinct family problems exist. Family therapy encompasses a range of approaches tailored to address the family’s individual needs as a unit.

Thus, through examining the complexities of such medical measures, people will know about the vast assortment of strategies applicable to family health enhancement, which one meets their requirements regarding the future state of his family.

Quick Overview: Different Types of Family Therapy

Here’s a quick rundown of various types of family therapy:

Structural Family Therapy: Attends to family constellation and hierarchy to rearrange interfamily relationships to enhance family function. Therapists assist in redefining roles and boundaries associated with the families.

Strategic Family Therapy: Focuses on solutions and behaviors. Directing therapeutic strategies are aimed at altering these unhealthy habits and concentrating on certain objectives.

Narrative Therapy: This involves stories and narratives constructed by families relating to their lives. The goal is to transform negative narrations, enabling them to re-narrate their stories in a positive and power-empowering manner.

Systemic Family Therapy: Consider the family an open system in which the multiple parts are interdependent. In the first therapy session, the therapists look at how individual members of this system influence one another.

Bowenian Family Therapy: Developing individual character and building families at once. It strives to minimize emotional enmeshment or foster individuality within families.

5 Common Types of Family Therapy

Structural Family Therapy

One method in family therapy, called Structural Family Therapy, focuses on identifying and rearranging how families are structured, how they operate, and how family members interact with one another to make things work better for the entire family.

In this approach, therapists concentrate on family constellations and explore interrelationships in the family and family members’ roles. 

This will be aimed at recasting these dynamics in order to realign the roles and boundaries between the family members involved. Here’s a closer look at the key components of this most common and popular types of family counseling:

Hierarchy Redefinition

The therapists focus on changing both the patriarchal structures and hierarchies in the family so that every member is equal with the others and contributes to healthy connections among themselves.

Boundary Restructuring

Boundaries in families and how flexible they are to enhance better and less confusing communication.

Subsystems Examination

Examining smaller family units within the encompassing big family order, e.g., parent-child subsystems, for abnormal patterns.

Directive Techniques

Directive interventions may include some task assignments specifically directed at the restructured family members’ interaction and roles to improve functionality.

Strategic Family Therapy

Strategic family therapy is distinctive among various family therapy methods because it is solution-driven with narrowly defined objectives and targets behavioral modification. At the beginning of the therapy, in most cases, intervention is directed toward changing bad habits and the way the family system functions. It is still about reaching the intended objectives and changing actions in order to develop positive relationships and exchanges between family members.

Solution-Oriented Approach

Focuses on solution identification as opposed to elaborate problem genesis determination.

Task-Oriented Strategies

This involves giving instructions, directives, and responsibilities to family members in order to provoke behavioral modifications or solve certain problems.

Goal-Centered Interventions

Seeks to have goals that can be set ahead and measure the success.

Short-Term and Direct

To achieve observable outcomes quickly, briefly, and to the point.

Empowering Change

It promotes the participation of family members in the implementation processes and positive relationships among them.

Narrative Therapy

One of the popular types of behavioral therapy, narrative therapy, stresses the stories or narratives that families create around them. It is a family counseling technique that works towards transforming negative stories into positive and powerful stories.

This approach empowers families to reframe their stories to shift in perspective and configure the challenges and strengths of each member. Here are key aspects of narrative therapy in family counseling:

Story Reframing

Challenges the families to reread their narratives and look at strengths instead of only looking for problems to fix.


It enables people to look at problems and not see challenges as part of self and family.

Reauthoring Narratives

Enables people to construct alternative scripts with family members that may engender a feeling of personal power and authority regarding their story and experience.

Strengths-Based Approach

Assists parents in discovering their strengths and developing more effective ways of dealing with adversity at home.

Collaborative Process

Therapist-led partnerships that recognize families as authorities on what has worked/not in their lives towards future narratives.

Systemic Family Therapy

Systemic family therapy focuses on types of couples counseling; a family is viewed as an open system wherein what an individual does or says affects all the other members. 

In addition, Systemic family therapy tries to uncover communication patterns, authority relationships, and relationship behaviors that define families’ functioning and welfare through seeing mutual dependence among family members. 

In that case, therapists use these family therapy approaches to understand how individual members contribute to the family system and the interpersonal relationships they have with one another. 


Recognizes the connection among family members and how each person’s behavior affects other people in the family system.

Circular Causality

Examines how family relationships perpetuate rounds of behaviors and communications.

Hierarchy and Boundaries

Explores the organization of the family, encompassing their positions, limits, and power distribution.

Strengths-Based Approach

Helps in achieving positive change and improves relations within the family by emphasizing family strengths and resources.

Focus on Relationships

Focuses on the critical roles of relations and the type of engagements among the family members to determine the family system.

Bowenian Family Therapy

Bowenian family therapy is one of the most essential types of family therapies that promotes individual growth and family unity. Developed by Murray Bowen, this therapeutic model focuses on reducing emotional entanglements within families and encourages family individuals.

Bowenian therapy concentrates on differentiating oneself, encouraging people to define their thoughts, feelings, and identity in the family system to reduce tensions between family members and improve the family’s whole functioning with various family therapy methods.


Enabling people to keep their personality but be attached emotionally to the family.

Emotional Enmeshment

Dealing with over-involved or fused relationships in a family setting.

Multigenerational Transmission

Investigating intergenerational transmission of family patterns of behavior.


The dynamics of three-person relationships and how they influence family interactions.

Emotional Cutoff

Strategies people utilize to remove themselves from family problems’ address.

In a Nutshell!

It is worth noting that the different types of family therapies present an intricate cloth of models that aim to address specific facets of familial relations and interactions. 

Each of these approaches focuses on various aspects of family functioning and introduces a unique framework and tools intended to enhance family functioning through either structural reorganization (structural family therapy), narrative reframing (narrative therapy), or focusing on the individual’s growth within the family context (Bow Furthermore, different methods such as Systemic Family Therapy with its broader systematic perspective and family therapy approaches, which is more focused on specific goals. 

Ultimately, these varying cultural and ethnic differences give people and families many types of family counseling; they can find one that fits them, helps them heal, understand themselves, and improve their relationships in the family environment.


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