Discover How FST Can Support Your Mental Health

What is Family Systems Therapy?

Family Systems Therapy (FST) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on how family dynamics and interactions influence an individual’s well-being.

At its core, FST doesn’t just focus on the individual but explores the entire family unit. This can help uncover family dynamics, interactions, or other issues impacting each family member. Through this type of therapy, you and your loved ones learn how to work together, improve your communication, and elevate the group’s mental well-being. Family Systems Therapy can be a valuable tool for managing:


Conflict resolution




Parent-child relationships






Marital issues


Behavioural problems


Grief and loss





Family Systems Therapy Approaches

Structural Family Therapy:

This approach examines how the family interacts – including relationships, behaviours, and patterns – to assess the family’s structure. Through this understanding, therapists can help establish or reinstate boundaries for better communication. The issues at hand may be long-standing.

Strategic Family Therapy:

This type of family therapy focuses on improving how your family solves problems in their daily lives. By changing behaviours, families can create positive changes and enhance problem-solving capabilities. The issues at hand may be more current or present (versus in structural family therapy).

Intergenerational Family Therapy:

This approach explores how past generations influence current family and individual behaviours. It helps you understand how your family’s history affects the way you think, behave, and relate to one another. By recognizing these patterns, you can pave the way toward healthier family dynamics.

Working with a Family Systems Therapist

A family systems therapist can guide your entire family toward improved mental well-being. They start off by learning about how your family works and what’s not going well. Then, they help you and your family set goals, such as communicating better. From there, they help guide you on new ways to communicate and handle issues.

Your therapist also helps the entire family unit recognize that when one person acts a certain way, it affects everyone else. This can help each individual understand how their actions impact those they love. Outside of therapy, your therapist may further give you homework to practice what you learn and to determine how things are going at home. Overall, FST strives to help you and your family work better together when challenges arise.

FAQs – Family Systems Therapy

Who benefits from Family Systems Therapy?

Family Systems Therapy is beneficial for individuals, couples, or families experiencing issues. Issues may include relationship conflicts, communication problems, behavioural issues, and more.

How long does Family Systems Therapy last?

The duration of therapy can vary depending on the specific issues, and progress made. It may range from a few months to a year or longer, with regular sessions that can be weekly or biweekly.

What happens during a Family Systems Therapy session?

Sessions involve open conversations where family members discuss their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Your therapist may then use techniques like role-playing, reframing, and communication exercises to address issues and improve dynamics.

Does everyone in the family need to take part in therapy?

Ideally, the entire family should take part, but it can be effective even if some family members attend. The level of involvement depends on the specific goals and issues being addressed.

Is Family Systems Therapy combined with other therapies?

Family Systems Therapy can be used in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches, depending on the specific treatment goals. For example, it may be grouped with individual or couples counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), or medication management.

Your therapist will discuss and recommend the most appropriate approach for you/your family and the situation.

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Richmond Hill

9640 Bayview Ave #4
Richmond Hill, ON
L4C 9P7


105-11500 29th Street SE
Calgary, Alberta
T2Z 3W9

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