Different methods of therapy are used in every individual case. The method chosen takes the preferences of each individual client into account.
What is certain is that the therapist and the client have a mutual goal - namely that the client will achieve self-awareness, enhanced self confidence, and, hopefully, a readiness to make changes in various behavioral patterns or in inter-personal communication skills that are found to need improving or removing.
Every family and couple therapist has his own way of working.
Some therapists believe that only long-term treatment can lead to a solution to a complicated problem, and that the length of the therapy should be in direct proportion to the level of difficulty of the problem.
Others believe that one can reach good results in a limited number of sessions that are focused on the main issues that trouble the client
I, too, believe in the effectiveness of the second method - namely, that of brief therapy: As a rule, in the initial therapy contract, 12 sessions are scheduled. The seventh session constitutes an interim summary meeting, wherein the current situation and progress are evaluated and a mutual decision is taken as to whether to continue working towards the same goal as was originally decided upon, or to make a complete change of goal.
The focus is put first and foremost on the solving or relief of the specific difficulties that were the original reason for turning to professional help.
My goal is to assist the client to reach an understanding of the source of those difficulties, and to help him or her develop problem-solving strategies thus reducing the distress that the problems originally caused.
The client is the person who decides the subject content to be talked about.
Clients are never made to work on any additional issues that may surface during sessions - unless they decide they want to.
What if a child or a partner refuses to join the therapy framework?
Sometimes, indeed, one's partner refuses to co-operate - but even without the other's actual presence, it is still possible to improve relations within the family. One can usually imagine what he or she would be saying , even though he or she is not present, and then continue to work whilst taking this into account. It's more difficult but still possible.
Often, parents are convinced that their children (of all ages) will refuse to come with them to the family meetings and then are most surprised when the children actually want to come to a place where everyone can speak and be listened to.
Even when children actually do refuse to join the family session - even then, despite their absence, it is still possible to help them and the family.