In family therapy and counseling, the optimal functioning of the family unit is always the ultimate goal.
Sometimes family therapy is required when one or more members of the family have individual issues that have had an impact on the family as a whole. In such cases, a few family sessions may be held during someone’s individual treatment.
There are many different challenges that families face, where therapy may be beneficial, including discord between parents or divorce, the loss of a family member or close friend, and general family dysfunction.
Many other issues come up within families that require intervention by an objective person.
Sometimes this happens when the parents as a couple are not getting along or arguing frequently and the children are affected. Sometimes the children get involved or even take sides in their parents’ difficulties with each other.
Grief over the loss of a member of the family can cause a family to be in a state of disequilibrium. Family therapy can provide a path through this transition.
Other families have dynamics that have become problematic over time. Sometimes each member of the family plays a role and other family members respond to, or try to counterbalance the role of another member of the family, and the roles become more and more entrenched.
In some cases, when all members of the family are adults and no longer living together there can still be issues (often complicated by in-law relations). I have also seen situations in which the extended family (aunts, uncles, grandparents) are involved in conflicts with one or more members of a smaller family unit.