Family therapy ‘lite’? How family counsellors conceptualise their primary care family work

Smith, Harriet; Moller, Naomi P. and Vossler, Andreas (2017). Family therapy ‘lite’? How family counsellors conceptualise their primary care family work. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 45(5) pp. 562–572.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03069885.2016.1164296

Abstract

A number of current developments in the field potentially provide opportunities for preventative relationship and family interventions to be integrated into primary care. In this context, it is important to understand what family counselling is and how it might differ from family therapy. Thus, this paper investigates how the service of one low-intensity family counselling provider, Relate, is conceptualised and practised by counsellors on the ground. Questions about practice were posed to five focus groups of family counsellors and these were analysed using thematic analysis. The findings suggest that Relate family counselling is seen as ‘family therapy lite’, with a flexible, eclectic and integrative use of concepts and techniques within a systemic framework. Implications of this conceptualisation of family counselling for training, practice and research are discussed.

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