Family therapists practice from the perspective that the individual is embedded in a set of relationships within a family system. The couple, parental, or sibling sub-systems are examples of these relationships. A positive change in one part of the family system invariably causes positive change in other parts. Thus, family therapy can be practiced on the individual, the couple, or the family as a whole. However, since no one person can ever be understood in isolation of the others, you will be encouraged to involve the other members of the family to join in the therapy sessions.
How does a genogram work in therapy?
Be prepared that one of the first things that your therapist will do is complete a family genogram with you. Information will be gathered across at least three generations, identifying critical events in the family history, particularly as they relate to life cycle stages. The family is then discussed in regards to their present situation in relation to the themes, myths, rules, and emotionally-charged issues of past generations.
A genogram provides valuable information about family patterns and behaviours, what happens across generations, as well as the resources that your family has to draw on to strengthen the system as a whole. A genogram helps your therapist to organize all the information collected in the assessment phase of therapy. It helps her to detect family relational patterns and to assess roles, functioning, balance, and resources.
1) When you give written, informed, signed consent for the information in your clinical record to be communicated to another person, for example your doctor or lawyer. You may also give permission for a case consult with another therapist.
2) When you are clearly at risk of hurting yourself or others, as in suicide or assault. The police would be called.
3) If you disclose that a child ( a person under the age of 12) has been physically or sexually abused or neglected including: a) if domestic violence has occurred and there is a child in the home and/or b) If there is a possibility of your own childhood abuser still being a risk to other children now. In these cases the therapist is obligated to report to the Family and Children Services of the Waterloo Region.
4) If you disclose sexual abuse by a regulated health care professional such as a psychologist, nurse, dentist or doctor. In these circumstances therapists are obligated to report to the police and any relevant professional college.
5) If your therapist is mandated by a court order to do so.
The rules of confidentiality will be discussed in your first session during which you are encouraged to ask any questions concerning these exceptions.