Systemic Family Therapy

A therapy service for individuals, couples and families

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Life and relationships can be stressful and demanding. There are often periods of stress at the transition points in our lives - children becoming adolescents, pressures of work or finance, divorce or separation, or changes in family structure, illness, anxiety and grief, for example.

Children and young people have their own stresses too: fitting in with peers at school, and the social networking world, can feel all-consuming. The pressure to do well academically, or be a success, can make them feel as though there is no room for failure.  Parents often struggle with knowing how to help their children without adding to the pressure.

Communication with each other can become very fraught at these times and children, in particular, can show symptoms of stress.  This can include very angry, defiant behaviour at home or at school, or obsessive behaviour such as self-harm, eating disorders or addiction to social media.

My view is that families and individuals are naturally resilient – often, they already have the skills they need to solve their problems. But at times of stress they may not be able to use these skills - sometimes communication gets stuck, or life events trip people up.  

Systemic Family Therapy

Systemic Family Therapy works with families, and people in close relationships, to enable them to change and develop, and to understand and resolve problems and family conflicts. It helps people mobilise the strengths of their relationships in conversations that can be life-changing.

A Systemic Family Therapist can enable conversations that harness the strength and the resources of family members and other significant people, taking into consideration the wider economic, social, cultural, political, and religious context in which the family lives, while respecting each individual’s different perspective, beliefs, views and stories. These conversations can have far-reaching effects.

The aim is to help family members to find constructive ways to help each other, whether their difficulties are personal or family-related, through their active involvement in therapy sessions.

Couple work

Systemic family therapists are trained and experienced in couple work (whether there are children or not). I work to explore the unhelpful patterns of communication that develop over time, to help couples to not get stuck in them. I focus on more productive ways of communicating that will nurture and develop the couple relationship. I am experienced in therapy with same-sex couples and cross-cultural couples, and also work with relationships where there is, or has been, intimate partner violence.

Consultancy work

Esther provides training in systemic and supervisory practice across the health, education, social care and third sectors. She is experienced in team building, facilitating days on managing organisational change, and coping with stress.

Copyright Esther Usiskin Cohen 2019.  Website by Chestnuts Design

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The therapy

Some views from clients about family therapy. Click here to view (PDF  file). Presentation created by Karen Holford on behalf of The Association for Family Therapy