Few families are without family issues and the roles and patterns we learn early on tend to be played out in our own families and relationships when we don’t bring them to awareness and address them.
Clients can do this in individual therapy (without their families being present) by looking at old memories and current family situations, expressing their feelings, examining their past roles and working on problem-solving and consciously choosing their roles, alliances and reactions in the present. We can’t change others, we can only change ourselves. Having said this, family therapists have long noticed that when one person’s role in the family changes, the whole family system often has to shift and accommodate.
The client with family issues has a safe separate place to gain support to work on these family issues and to individuate, apart from the pressure of the family unit.