Families are not a high percentage of therapy clients, often simply
because of the logistical problem of getting a whole family able to meet
at the same time and place every week or two. However, family therapy
can be amazingly effective in helping to work out the often complex and
confusing dynamics that play out in families. If your family is
struggling for one reason or another (and there are many, many ways that
this can happen), good therapy can oftentimes achieve remarkable
improvements. I am not a big exponent of brief therapy, generally
believing that achieving lasting change takes time, but in the case of
family therapy, it can achieve considerable results in a very brief
number of sessions.
The usual assumption is that the problem lies within one family member. Although sometimes this is the case, more often, although the problem appears to be in one individual member of the family, it is actually something that involves the whole family. Understanding the energetic dynamics of families, and being able to help to guide the family to solutions, requires an ability to track both the big picture and the minutia of the situation, and to see where the interventions need to occur.
Being able to do this requires experience. During the two years that I spent running the adolescent unit of a psychiatric hospital here in California, I worked with hundreds of families from every conceivable racial and ethnic background. The experience I gained from that has given me the kind of knowledge of families and their dynamics that enables me to achieve results.