Individual versus Family Therapy

Individualversus Family Therapy

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Individualversus Family Therapy

Individualtherapy is only geared towards only one person and lays its focussolely on a particular individual’s therapeutic needs. On theother, family therapy focuses on a group or an entire family. As suchboth family and individual therapy are beneficial, and even anindividual partaking therapy may be involved in both forms oftherapy, for instance, an individual attending sessions of individualtherapy on a weekly basis may still meet a family therapist later inthe same week on a different schedule, thus, combining the twotherapy types. This essay looks at the differences between the twotherapy types, what best suits what therapy type in terms of clientsand why, and showing the possibilities of integrations of the twotherapy types.

Comparingand Contrasting Family and Individual Therapy

Individualand family therapies differ in terms of focus of therapy. Underindividual therapy, sessions only have a single patient, and thetherapist efforts are solely on a particular individual. Forinstance, where an individual attends for anxiety, therapy sessionwill only focus on his or her anxiety and issues it may bring alongin the individual’s life. On the other hand, family therapy takes agroup of individuals at ago, for instance, a group/family may attendtogether during a single session. Thus, the different between the twotherapies arises in their focus of the sessions nevertheless, somesessions might have been started due to a single family member. Forinstance, an individual undergoing an issue may use family therapywhere members assist in understanding and design of coping mechanismto the underlying problem (Robin,Siegel, and Moye, 1995).

Inmany cases, family therapy does not focus on the problems or needsfacing a single individual. Most the time family therapy will focuson overcoming issues faced by the entire group or that faced by someof the family members. Say for instance, where some members or thewhole group has issues when it comes to dealing with each other interms of harboring dysfunctional habits, then the family therapyhelps them comes in to aid in overcoming this habit. On the samenote, family therapy may help members having issues of grief ordealing issues rated to marriage or divorce. Notably, an individualcan participate in the two therapy types at ago, for example, aperson may attend an individual therapy to resolve personal issuesand at the same time undertake family therapy to deal with the sameissues from a family perspective (Nichols,2013).


Familytherapy is mainly implemented over psychological and emotional issuesaddressing the problems of individuals present within the context oftheir relationship with significant people in their lives and socialnetworks (Nichols,2013).The form of therapy is well recognized aiming at family systems associal units, in contrast to other therapies like psychodynamicfocusing on a single individual. This type of therapy best suitsfamily members, couples, and others who care about each otherproviding a platform from which they can explore different thoughtsand emotions safely. Thus, family therapy offers a ground for peopleto understand each other’s experiences and viewpoints, allowingmembers to appreciate the needs of others to make useful changes intheir relationships and lives(Glick et al, 2003).

Familytherapy can come in handy for individuals/family members dealing withissues related to divorce, marriage, or even the birth andintroduction of children into families. In addition, family therapyis suitable for individuals who might feel intimidated by individualtherapy. Family therapy is related to the emphasis of psychoanalysisand related psychodynamic approaches played by families in theformation of personalities and development of psychologicaldisorders. This form of therapy has registered success in treating ofindividuals dealing with anxiety, eating disorders, and assistingvictims of abuse by helping them adjust their coping skills (Gurmanand Kniskern, 2014).


Individualtherapy also referred to as counseling or psychotherapy is rather acollaborative process between a therapist and a single individual(Gurmanand Kniskern, 2014).The goal of these seasons is to facilitate change and improve thequality of life of the individual undergoing therapy. This form oftherapy is best used for individuals confronting barriers interferingwith their emotional as well as mental fitness. In addition,individual therapy is aimed at increasing positive feelingsself-esteem, courage, or even love. As such many individuals enjoytaking self-therapeutic journeys as they create a deeperself-awareness and aiding self-growth (Glicket al, 2003).

Individualtherapy is best utilized in the treatment of mental healthconditions, for example, anxiety, depression, and daily individualconcerns such as stress, career ambitions, and other issues that maybe significant to personal mental health. A therapist underindividual therapy can serve as a listening ear aiding in thefacilitation of lifestyle change, identify underlying causes of aproblem, and offer techniques of changing negative behaviors andemotions (Nichols,2013).

IntegrateIndividual and Family Treatment

Itis very much possible to integrate individual and family therapies.It is very much possible for an individual to participate in bothindividual and family therapies at the same time. The integration ofthe two allows clients to benefit from other’s perspective, this isespecially so in psychiatric illness, where thinking diversely iscalled and interventions from different levels of necessity. As suchan individual can attend individual therapy and later be in familytherapy allowing him or her view the issue from a family point ofview aiding quick healing (Gurmanand Kniskern, 2014).


Gurman,A. S., &amp Kniskern, D. P. (Eds.). (2014). Handbookof family therapy.London: Routledge.

Glick,I. D., Berman, E. M., and Clarkin, J. F. (2003). Maritaland Family Therapy.New York: American Psychiatric Pub.

Nichols,M. (2013). FamilyTherapy: Concepts and Methods.Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.

Robin,A. L., Siegel, P. T., &amp Moye, A. (1995). Family versus individualtherapy for anorexia: impact on family conflict. InternationalJournal of Eating Disorders17(4),313-322.