A Practical Guide to Online Family Therapy

A Practical Guide to Online Family Therapy

By definition, “family therapy is a form of talk therapy that focuses on the improvement of relationships among family members”. It is an important type of counseling that families can utilize for conflict resolution, rebuilding their relationships, and better communication.

However, in a study conducted by Child Psychiatry & Human Development, management of timing and location was found to be a critical challenge families face when seeking family therapy. Online family therapy emerges as a solution, allowing families to connect with licensed therapists at their convenience, eliminating the hassle of coordinating schedules or physical appointments. A simple search for ‘online family therapy near me’ can set a family on the path to healing.

This article provides an overview of online family therapy and offers guidance on making the most of it. 

What is Online Family Therapy?

A Practical Guide to Online Family Therapy

Online family counseling is one type of teletherapy that allows families to work together on resolving emotional concerns. Some of the features of family therapy online are:

  • Usually Performed as Group Therapy Sessions: Unlike individual counseling, family therapy involves the engagement of different family members in joint sessions. However, therapists can speak with members separately or offer individual therapy.
  • Often Short-Termed: Family therapy mostly consists of 6-10 sessions. It is aimed to equip a family unit with better communication skills or necessary ways to resolve conflicts. Once that is done, the frequency of regular therapy might decrease.
  • Each Session Lasts Around 50 Minutes: Since these sessions can be emotionally tolling, involving multiple family members, each family therapy session lasts around an hour to prevent burnout. 
  • Performed by Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT): These therapists are professionals with an average experience of more than 13 years. They specialize in psychotherapy and family systems and can deal with emotional and mental disorders in marriage and families.

Online family therapy facilitates counseling and seeks to monitor thinking patterns. The main focus of this type of counseling is to rebuild communication across members and establish mutual grounds of understanding. 

Impacts of Family Therapy

When Is It Time to Consider Family Counseling?

If you’re questioning the need for family therapy, know that it’s not only a reactive solution to conflicts. Instead, it can be a preventive approach to address potential future challenges. Here are a few indicators suggesting that it might be a good time to seek family therapy:

  • Increased emotional outbursts
  • New family dynamic (remarriage, separation, divorce)
  • Behavioral issues in children
  • Death in circle 
  • Domestic Violence
  • Relocations or migration
  • Trauma
  • Frequent arguments

If you find your family going through some of these indicators, consider looking up options for online family therapy and engaging with a qualified family therapist.

Why Choose Online Family Therapy?

In a 2018 study, there was a significant shift towards online therapy, with approximately 35% of participants considering its accessibility and convenience as primary reasons for their preference. Family therapy online is a good alternative for families constrained by location or other factors preventing easy travel. As long as there’s an internet connection, therapy can be accessed from anywhere. Online family therapy can be beneficial for multiple reasons:

  • Flexibility of Time

Online family therapy offers flexible scheduling to accommodate all family members, without the requirement of being in the same location. With several therapists available on teletherapy platforms, you have a variety of options. This eliminated the need to compete for appointment slots or wait for your session. 

  • Different Modes of Therapy

Teletherapy platforms offer diverse therapy modes, ensuring every family member can fully express themselves in the sessions without feeling embarrassed or constrained. Some popular modes of online therapy are:

  • Audio calls
  • Video calls
  • Text messages
  • Live chatting 
  • Stability

A research report by Psychiatric Services highlights the impacts of a positive therapist-client relationship on improved treatment outcomes. This is linked to the importance of comfort and vulnerability in therapy sessions. For families to share their concerns, a genuine connection with their therapist is crucial. 

Followingly, online therapy platforms offer a diverse range of therapists, making it easier for a family to find the right fit. The online model also ensures stability; even if a family relocates, they can continue seeking therapy with the same therapist. This eliminates the stress of starting from scratch.

  • Confidentiality

Many individuals might hesitate to seek therapy due to the discomfort and fear of exposure. A great advantage of online therapy platforms for families is enhanced confidentiality. Several teletherapy platforms prioritize privacy and do not require clients to fully identify themselves. This eliminates the chance of running into acquaintances at your appointments. 

5 Tips for Families Considering Online Therapy

Finding the right online platform and therapist for internal family systems can become a hassle. Here are 5 tips that can help you through the process:

  1. Check Reviews

When selecting the right option for your family, actively seek out reviews from other clients and families. Their feedback will give you a good idea about their experiences with the platform, the quality of services offered, and what can be expected from the sessions.

  1. Check The Therapist’s Credentials

While it is important to find a suitable therapy platform, you should also choose a licensed therapist. Most of the teletherapy services have experienced professionals. Actively review the therapist’s credentials on the platform’s official website to ensure you’re making an informed decision.

  1. Think About Your Family Needs

It is important to identify the challenges faced by your family and discuss the therapeutic goals. This clarity will aid you in your search for the right online family therapy platform and therapist. Some common expectations from family therapy are:

  • Enhanced communication 
  • Managing family dysfunction
  • Discussion on healthy boundaries
  • Fostering compassion 
  • Working through trauma
  1. Choose a Comfortable Setup

Before you opt for family therapy online, choose an appropriate and comfortable location for your online therapy session. This will help you focus on your feelings and the exercises assigned during the online session. Shifting places during the session can disrupt your progress, so it’s important to select the most comfortable spot from the start.

  1. Understand the Stages of Online Family Therapy

Family therapy is a delicate process and involves several steps. Below are the five stages of online family therapy. 

  1. Engagement: This is the relationship-building stage where the therapist and family establish mutual grounds of communication and understanding. The therapist also collects some introductory information about the family history and particular concerns.
  2. Assessment: This stage involves a more in-depth back-and-forth between the family and the therapist. The main purpose is for the therapist to understand family dynamics and issues.
  3. Goal setting: This is a collaborative stage where therapeutic goals are set for the family. It is important that every family member is on the same page when deciding these goals. 
  4. Intervention: Different approaches to therapy are used in this stage, some of which are:
Understand the Stages of Online Family Therapy

The family is expected to have open and honest communication during this phase.

  1. Termination and follow-up: When the set therapeutic goals are met, the therapy approaches its final stage. The main goals of this phase are to understand the progress and develop plans for follow-ups. 

Throughout these stages, the therapist might alter the approach according to the family dynamics, and willingness of the members to participate.

Key Takeaways
  • Online family therapy, is usually conducted in group sessions and focuses on enhancing communication and understanding among family members.
  • Family therapy serves not only as a response to conflicts but also as a proactive measure to prevent and address potential future challenges.
  • To find the right online platform and therapist for your family, it’s essential to research by checking client reviews and verifying the therapist’s credentials.
  • For effective therapy, families should identify their specific challenges, set therapeutic goals, and understand the stages and expectations of the therapy process.