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What Is Christian Family Therapy?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Christian family therapy is a type of family-oriented psychotherapy intended to help improve relationships between family members by fostering respect, communication and trust. This type of family therapy is usually referred to as Christian family therapy because it often incorporates Christian theological teachings, prayer, and Biblical scriptures into the therapeutic process. Counselors who specialize in Christian family therapy have typically received secular training and accreditation in psychotherapy. They will often have received additional training in Christian theology. Such counselors normally attempt to use Christian religious teachings in a productive way to help clients find psychological healing and enhanced interpersonal relationships.

The purpose of family therapy in general is to deepen and strengthen filial relationships. Most types of family therapy do this by giving the entire family a secure environment in which they can feel comfortable expressing thoughts, feelings, and needs. Family dysfunction is often the result of one or more family members feeling disrespected, ignored, mistrusted, or unloved. Family therapy, including Christian family therapy, seeks to give all individuals in the family unit the chance to express their feelings without repercussions. The goal of such therapy is to help family members better understand one another, and to deepen trust, communication, love, and respect.

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Counselors offering family therapy with a Christian focus generally have extensive theological training on top of qualifications in psychotherapy. Christian family therapy usually draws on the wisdom of the Biblical scriptures to help repair family relationships in a manner consistent with Christian religious beliefs and teachings. Many such counselors emphasize Christian ideas about love, healing, personal growth, and the importance of family relationships as part of the therapeutic process. Clients undergoing Christian family therapy will typically be asked to draw upon their religious faith during the therapeutic process. Prayer, Biblical readings, and spiritual practices may be incorporated into the therapeutic process.

As with most other types of psychotherapy, the success of Christian family therapy often depends largely on the clients themselves. Difficult issues and emotions may need to be addressed, and this is normally done with emphasis on Christian values such as love, forgiveness, or charity. Many therapists will require clients to perform specific tasks in between sessions. Clients may be asked to observe feelings or behavior, and will generally be asked to make an effort towards changing external aspects of themselves.

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