Family Therapy


Do we need family therapy? Does this sound like you?
Our children are really arguing a lot.
My kids just won’t listen anymore.
We seem to have so many power struggles.
My spouse is too strict. My partner is a pushover with the kids.
All I hear is “It’s not fair!.
Being a single parent is so hard!
My child needs help! It’s affecting all of us!
My teens say the rules are different at his mother’s/father’s house.
My child’s medical illness is affecting all of us.
His emotional problems are taking all of our attention.
This is it!   I’ve had it!
We are having a family crisis – miscarriage, rape, adolescent leaving the house, illness, loss of job or income, moving.
My partner and I argue about the kids so often lately.
This family doesn’t communicate any more.
Everything turns into an argument.
What do you mean, have a family dinner together???

Does any of this sound familiar? Let me help you and your family “find” each other again.

WHY HAVE FAMILY THERAPY?   Like your family, every family has its own rules of behavior, its own power struggles, and its own unique patterns of distance or closeness between its members. These patterns can be the result of family values, generational beliefs, psychological dynamics, and the family’s efforts to maintain peace. And love. To reframe the Beatles, “All we want is love”. However, families usually show up in my office when that love can no longer be felt or communicated. It is there, but has somehow gone underground, sometimes for several months. In family therapy, I can help you change patterns of relating, of communicating and behaving. Just by checking this site, you have taken a courageous step to change your family story.

Are you experiencing a crisis? Family therapy helps when the family can no longer call on its strengths to cope with the current demands and ongoing tasks of life. You may suddenly become a single parent, experience the birth of a handicapped child, love a member who abuses alcohol, have a run-away teen or a family death. Any of these significant changes can shake not only your personal foundations, but also the family’s foundations. Everything familiar about your family may be changing. Each crisis calls for new coping strategies. And family therapy can help.

Everyday stresses: Sometimes, families gradually come to the realization that their love and communication has slowly ebbed. Loved ones may stop the easy chatter, the warm ‘how was your day’, and the important listening that is vital to family health and stability. Children grow up, friends come and go, report cards come and school problems may surface. All these ‘normal’ everyday events can tear the fabric of our lives, in turn stress the fabric of our family life. Is this happening in your family?

Healing occurs within family communication and learning new coping skills to handle the changing concerns of family love and life. Each family adapts to change differently. Some families find safety and balance by allowing for flexibility and negotiation between members. Other families find safety and meaning by creating more rigid rules, whether spoken or unspoken. Safety and purpose are found through tradition. Struggling families, on the other hand, are often fragmented, both in structure and expectations. Family rules are unclear or easily broken and boundaries become blurred. Power struggles foster competition and conflict.

The good news is that unhealthy patterns can be alleviated through family therapy. Call me at Claudia Trevithick-Creative Therapy, 720-242-9241 for more information.


A Systemic ApproachMost family therapy is based on systems theory. A system’ is a set of relationships. Each ‘system’ influences each other, including the way you believe, behave and feel. These subsystems behave in an organized way, producing a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. My siblings are a subsystem. My parents at one time were a subsystem. All systems strive for balance. Families develop rules to maintain this balance. When rules become too rigid, they prevent individual growth. When the rules are unclear it becomes difficult to establish one’s boundaries. When I use a family therapy systems approach, I look at the way one or more person’s behaviors affect the behaviors and feelings of the whole family, and how the family responds.

A Structural Approach In Structural Family Therapy, the therapist is interested in boundaries, the patterns of interacting, and the hierarchies within the family. Behavior is seen within the context of the family structure. Sometimes simply giving parents permission to be parents and the children permission to be kids helps alleviate a lot of emotional discomfort. This often results in wanted behavior changes. Often, the parents will need to be seen alone for several sessions. Sometimes the children will be seen alone, or a child and parent will come in together. Perhaps inviting a grandparent to a session will help.

What is a family therapy session like? When I see the whole family for an evaluation,I will do my best to help each person feel comfortable and safe enough to express their concerns. I will wonder about different perceptions of the problems that brought you to therapy. It can be daunting to express yourself in front of other family members. But, it can also be a relief to finally have your feelings safely out in the open. I am not there to judge, but to understand how I can help each particular family. If the children are young, I will often do an initial intake with the parents. I may have the family complete an exercise to see how they work as a group. Homework may be given to facilitate communication between sessions.

Family Art Therapy: As an art therapist, I have had over 24 years of experience using different family art therapy evaluations and techniques. I may have the family do a mural together without talking. Sometimes I have each person chose a magazine photo to show how their home feels when people are arguing. When family members can actually ‘see’ what other members are feeling, their understanding increases, and behavior changes are easier. One set of parents, for example, were surprised to see how accurately their children use stuffed animals to talk like their parents. The kids also got to see what they sounded like, when they watched their parents play like they do.

Again, the goals are insight and behavior change. I want each member to feel strengthened, to be able to develop a separate sense of self, so that the whole family can function more lovingly and more effectively. Real change takes place when the family system operates in this different manner. Family therapy, by the way, also includes laughter and even hugs!

Call me, Claudia Trevithick at 720-242-9241 for a free initial 20 minute consult or just call me to set up an appointment.