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Why Family Therapy

Why is family therapy so important and what makes it different from other forms of psychotherapy?


According to recent research (see the Harvard Grant Study),our intimate relationships are the single most important factor in

our lives. Warm intimate relationships help us to feel gratified, successful, happy, and protect us from harm, both physical and 

emotional. No matter how anxious, sad, or angry we may become,our intimate relationships, if they are healthy, can ease the pain and restore us. Family therapy recognizes this fact.


Family therapists are trained to understand how intimate relationships can go awry and are trained to help them improve. We understand that nearly all problems stem from either the lack of intimacy, toxicity in relationships including many types of violence, loss, or over-reliance on one or two others for all emotional needs.


I have been working with these principles for 25 years and have seen, first hand, that individuals with diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD have been able to heal significantly by improving relationships with other important people in their lives such as parents, husbands, wives, and children.


Where as many psychotherapists use the DSM to diagnosis their clients, giving them a label that can follow them for a lifetime, family therapists look at relationships and work to improve them. The DSM does not look at problems in term of relationships. It assumes that all problems are "individual" and originate inside the client/patient. This is false.


There are many articles, TED talks, books, and films that demonstrate why family therapy is such an important way of helping

ourselves and our clients. 


Here is a sampling:

Happiness Is Other People by Ruth Whittman:

This provocative article talks about how research demonstrates our need for connection with others and our perplexing behavior in pursuing solitary activities.


Triumphs of Experience by George Vaillant. A wonderful book about the Harvard Grant Study which over the course of 75 years has demonstrated that warm intimate connections are more important than any other factor in leading a gratifying life!


TED talk by Robert Waldinger:

A short video about the Harvard Grant Study.  Why our connection to others is the most important factor in leading a successful and gratifying life.


TED talk by Eleanor Longden:

This wonderful TED talk is about how psychiatry was a terrible mistake for a young woman who heard voices and how her mother's love and community saved her.


Read books and articles by Sal Minuchin, Cloe Madanes (especially "Remembering Our Heritage") Maurizio Andolfi,

Carl Whitaker, David Keith, Peggy Papp.

       For more information: contact Paula Ochs

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