My best friend and her husband are struggling with how to help their daughter, Amber, age 14. Amber is slipping out of the house at night, skipping school, not following rules and possibly doing drugs. I wonder if doing family therapy would help them. What could this family expect from family therapy/counseling? How can they find a good family therapist?



    The Austin area has an abundance of family therapists. If your friend has insurance that covers mental health counseling, she can get a list of approved therapists from her insurance company. Otherwise, she can get recommendations from the school counselor or friends who have done therapy. She can also call several therapists to discuss availability and costs.


    A family therapist will no doubt talk/work with Amber alone and with the family together. The therapist will look at the interactions and the communication patterns among family members. The family can expect the therapist to work to change negative patterns of communication and interaction. Family rules will be explored as well as the need for new rules. In addition, consequences for not following rules will be discussed. I believe the therapist will help Amber define her goals and how her behavior has to change to meet those goals.


    In an environment that feels compassionate and safe, the therapist will solicit and offer ideas on handling Amber’s identified issues.


    In general, family therapy will improve communication skills within a family, as well as skills for dealing with challenging situations. Family therapy can offer new insights into problem areas and help people develop strategies for dealing with conflict.


    Family therapists deal with many different issues such as alcohol and drug use, gender identity, anxiety, anger, abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, trauma and a wide variety of other issues. Therapists are aware of resources the family can utilize in addition to therapy.


    Betty Richardson, PhD, RN, CS, LPC, LMFT, is an Austin-based psychotherapist.

    Subscribe To Our Newsletter

    Subscribe To Our Newsletter

    Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Austin Family Magazine

    You have Successfully Subscribed!

    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This

    Share This

    Share this with your friends!