Family therapy seeks to create a space where different subjects of the same family can express their feelings, needs, ideas and conflicts in an environment of safety, acceptance and listening. It has a different approach to individual psychotherapy since it focuses not so much on the individual resources of each member of the family but on the family's capacities as a specific group. This particular perspective it is not based in the individual change, even though the main problem that has led the family to ask for help derives apparently, from the behavior or attitude of one of the subjects (son, father, mother, etc.), but rather to generate healthier alternatives around the established dynamic.
A family is not just the sum of several individual psychic functioning. It is a group of people united, usually by different degrees of kinship, and constitute a unique and original unit through strong relationships.
The systemic perspective, which guides therapy with families, is based on making the communication within the family easier, so the different perspectives of all the family subjects can be known, respected and valued.
It is common that throughout the history of a family there are vital moments where the family resources are not enough to overcome moments of crisis. Couples problems, educational strategies disagreements, and disruptive behavior of a family subject, separations, birth of a baby, children leaving home, or the shared feeling of a "bad environment" at home. Likewise, many families that have been fully competent for years can find themselves in a confluence where their functioning does not have the capacity to promote the development and aspirations of one of its subjects at a particular time. A typical example is when one of the children reaches adolescence and begins the process of individuation and separation.
One of the important advantages of family therapy is it provides to each of the family subjects the resources and strengths of a whole group. This means overcoming a crisis in that context would be a real opportunity to deepen and strengthen family ties. This is why the therapy with families is more about unlocking and developing in conjunction the healthy resources of the family, rather than just a transmission of good behavior guidelines from the therapist.