Systemic Psychotherapy FAQ's:


Q: What is Systemic/ Family Psychotherapy?


A: "We all part of wider networks or "systems"- our interactions with other people are how the system works. Within a system we develop different ways of relating to one another; patterns which may repeat over time. As systems grow and change with time, e.g children becoming teenagers, our ways of relating to one another may no longer work, and the system becomes "stuck". 


"A Family and Systemic Psychotherapist could help you take on a different position, either by working with indivduals, or with the whole family. They can look at how different factors affect people within the system. They will help emphasise the strengths, resiliences, and resources available and how everyone helps contribute to the functioning of the system. 


The aim is to help everyone understand each other, develop new ways to talk to each other. This can help create an environment in which everyone supports each other promoting health and wellbeing". (



​Q: Who can benefit from this form of therapy?
A: "Family and Systemic Psychotherapy can work with people in any form of relationship": e.g Couples, Families, Groups, Carers, Professional groups, Teams, and Businesses (
Some of the difficulties whch this form of therapy can be useful for include:
-Couple, relationship, and other interpersonal difficulties
-Child and adolescent mental health issues
-Adult mental health issues
-Parenting issues
-Illness and disability in the family
-Separation, divorce, and step-family life
-Anorexia, Bulimia, and other Eating Disorders
-Domestic violence and abuse
-Drug and alcohol misuse
-Effects of trauma
-Fostering, adoption, kinship care, and the needs of "looked after" children.
-Death, dying, and bereavement.



Q: How  often do we have to meet, and how long does family/systemic psychotherapy usually take?


A:  This will depend on you aims for the sessions, and the nature of the difficulties experienced. Some systems may find that they notice change within a fairly brief timescale; whereas others may need a little longer. Sessions are usually offered fortnightly, although we can discuss preferred session spacing/timings at our initial meeting.


Q: In order for Family Therapy to be effective, does everyone in the family have to attend?


A: Not always. Attending therapy together as a family group might feel like a really big step, and sometimes family members might differ in their readiness to begin talking. This is something which we would talk about more at our initial meeting and think about how we could give everyone in the therapy- whether attending or not- an opportunity to ask questions and to feel consulted and heard.


Q: How much do sessions cost?


A: Sessions are currently priced at £70 per hour; with sliding scale places offered for those on lower incomes/or those for whom this cost would make needed therapy inaccessible. Family/group sessions cost, length, and frequency to be agreed depending on specific needs. 


For more information please see the Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice website:









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Sarah Smith Psychotherapy