The family therapy I practice is experiential (pursuing the facilitation of new and more constructive life experiences) and has a pragmatic character (focused on viable solutions).
Being an intervention therapy, with a relative short duration (that may vary from several weeks up to more months, depending on each case), of major importance is the collaboration between the therapist and the family members, which requires high responsiveness and active involvement from them.
The resources that the family members need in order to overcome deadlocks exist right within the group, only they are not aware of and utilized yet. Therefore the solutions aim to developing those abilities of copying with difficult situations and overcoming crisis/stagnation moments, directing towards a more beneficial future.
As a consequence of the creative potential on a family level, the “problematic” behaviours are not considered pathological anymore, but simply ways that the family members found and developed in time as adaptive responses to unforeseen situations. These can be replaced with more functional adaptive responses, for the individual and family benefits. According to this principle, the labels that could indicate any member as being pathological are rejected from the very beginning.
Another basic principle I adopt is considering the family a group with its own identity and its own rules and this confers it a certain structure and a certain way of functioning. And so, some rules, as well as some borders inside the group may be either too rigid, either too unclear. And for this reason it is necessary to approach and modify relational dynamics – expectations, behaviours, reactions etc.
The focus is on equality regarding expressing all points of view on a group level. This is important in order to respect the individuality and the natural need of differentiation of persons who are in a maturation process, keeping at the same time the cohesion and the hierarchical order with the family (ex: parents vs. children).
Often, the apparent ‘bizarre’ behaviours of some members have the role of symptomatically manifesting taboo subjects that exist within the family, like unspeakable sufferings, couple difficulties, domestic violence etc. Therefore, while addressing the symptomatic behaviour, it is also important to approach and unveil those subject that became taboo, in group or individual sessions.
I also take into consideration life scenarios that some members have the unconscious tendency to take from significant figures from their original families (ex: patterns of affection indifference, the tendency to control children’s destinies, victimization tendencies etc.). A human gains his/her inner freedom by also how much he/she can differentiate himself/herself from possible dysfunctional patterns from the original family. And in this cases the sessions may also take the format of individual therapy with the person in question.