What is Family Therapy

Family Therapy is a branch of psychotherapy

Family Therapy is a branch of psychotherapy that works with individuals, couples and families with a systems perspective. Family therapists believe that people’s emotions and behaviors are influenced by their interpersonal context. Among all kinds of human systems, family system is the most significant to our lives. The interaction among family members forms the way we relate to each other. Therefore, the presenting symptom, to a certain extend, reflects the problem in the relationship. In the therapy process, family therapist focuses on understanding clients’ difficulties and their family dynamics, helps clients and families to discover their strengths and resources, and also explore new directions and possibilities.

Family therapy is proved to be effective in dealing with mental health problems, emotion and behavioral problems and relationship problems.

What problems do family therapists deal with?

Mental Health and Emotional problems

  • Depression and Emotional Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Mood disorder
  • Sensory disorder
  • Drug Abuse
  • Alcoholic

Children and Adolescent Behavioral Problems

  • Children Behavior and Emotional Problem
  • Adolescent Behavior Problem
  • Self-Injurious Behavior
  • Addiction
  • School Refusal
  • Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder, ADHD
  • Eating Disorders

Couple and Family

  • Couple and Marital Relationship
  • Parent-child Relationship
  • Trans-generational Relationship
  • Divorce
  • Blended Family
  • Elderly Care
  • Chronic Disease

Please also see American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) homepage.

Is family therapy suitable for Chinese culture?


Traditional Chinese usually refuse to disclose their family matters to other people. They are also reluctant to seek professional help regarding their psychological and mental problems. However, there are an increasing number of family problems that may lead to divorce, individual and children mental disturbances, domestic violence, and many other family tragedies. Nowadays, there are increasing awareness of the importance in maintaining family and individual mental health. Though family therapy originated from the western psychotherapy tradition, therapists would consider the cultural difference in different family context, such as the traditional expectation on gender’s role, and the concept of filial piety. Therapists would also respect values of individuals and families, and work together with family members in the search for new possibilities.