chapter  116
6 Pages

Family Therapy

WithJo Bownas

The Association of Family Therapy has defined family therapy as “a distinctive psychological therapy for individuals and their support networks, which aims to maximize family strengths and resilience to help people overcome problems experienced by individual family members or the family as a whole.”1 For some problems family therapy may be offered as the sole or lead intervention (for “conduct disorder” in children or adolescents, for instance), while in forensic mental health settings it is offered as part of a web of interventions and is aimed less at “curing” a primary problem (usually deemed to be mental illness) and more at attending to how relationships may contribute to maintaining, resolving, or successfully living with, the primary problem. This chapter addresses the question of why family therapy should be considered in forensic mental health settings. It  introduces some key concepts from systemic family therapy and includes two clinical examples to illustrate what a family therapy approach can offer in forensic mental health settings.