We are increasingly needed because changing social values allow more equality between men, women and young adults who are also staying longer at home. The potential stresses on families, blended families and single parent families continues to grow. In severely disrupted families systemic family therapy combined with Dyadic Developmental therapy can improve the quality of relationships.


Feelings within families can be intense and even explosive. If people’s communication skills are poor, strong emotions just get acted out without any discussion. Family counselling aims to increase empathy, respect and cooperation by improving communication and conflict skills. For example

Conflicted values and beliefs within a family may not be apparent until made explicit in family therapy which aims to clarify and resolve differences that parents may be projecting onto children. For example

Behaviours in families result from dysfunctional thinking and feeling patterns that are usually multi-generational and difficult to change. Family therapy involving all members can clarify feelings and resolve conflicts thus allowing disturbed behaviours to change. For example

Rivalry, Envy & Jealousy are sometimes encouraged by insecure parents who unconsciously gain power by dividing siblings. This is likely to be destructive especially if cooperation is not also encouraged. Open discussion in family therapy sessions can help members recognise and change hostile rivalries. Untreated, these feelings grow more intense and can fragment the family and affect relationships.
Boundaries & Privacy are not recognised in some families where enmeshed relationships can mask subtle forms of abuse. At the other extreme some families are so private that children learn social fear and avoid closeness. In each case psychological symptoms require Psychelp early intervention that may prevent personality disorders later developing.
Dominace-Submission is a power hierarchy game found in all families to some degree. However the presence of intimidation, fear and threat is psychologically damaging and provides dysfunctional role models for siblings who may act out parents' hostility which creates anger between the children.
Aggression that flares up between the adults in the family can intimidate other members into submission, particularly where alcohol abuse in involved. Even one or two family counselling sessions with all members present can bring the problem of violent aggression under control.
Cooperative vs Competitive beliefs may lead to parental values conflict that cause family tensions as well as later social and workplace difficulties with peers. Psychelp workplace psychologists frequently treat stressed workers who have a breakdown because their work ethic of cooperative compliance caused traumatic shock when they felt bullied or harassed by a hostile competitive supervisor.
Domestic Violence both verbal and physical is extremely damaging to family members sense of security and self esteem. It also provides a destructive role model that passes onto the next generation where the same behaviours recur. Psychological counselling support is socially preferable to police action as a second step.


Anxiety & Insecurity are the opposite pattern that can reflect excessive enmeshed closeness and fears of separation, growing up, or leaving home.
Parenting conflicts occur because each parent may have differing values about religion, sex, or achievement. Extreme conflicts are psychologically damaging to children. Psychelp family counselling can clarify conflicting beliefs and teach individual and group skills to tolerate and encourage healthy levels of conflict.
Step-Parenting Problems within blended families may result from conflicting interests and poor communication between parents. Stepchildren tend to feel more secure and act out less when they experience the new marriage as stable. Family counselling with the extended stepfamily can sometimes resolve conflicts and improve trust.
Guilt, Shame & Blame are dysfunctional feelings that keep families bound together in unhealthy ways. Family therapy can relieve these unhelpful emotions and enable real closeness to occur.
Secrecy in families can be very destructive especially when it denies or invalidates child abuse. On top of the actual abuse psychological damage occurs when secrecy leaves the child carrying feelings of guilt and shame that rightfully should belong to the perpetrator. Family therapy involving all members aims to expose secrecy and restore feelings of self worth to the child.
Child Sexual Abuse is a difficult problem because of adult’s secrecy and denial and the child’s fears which may enable the abuse to go undetected and be repressed even well into adulthood by the survivor. Psychotherapy for sexual abuse in childhood can be complex and prolonged.

Role Sharing beliefs about domestic responsibilities may lead to conflicts based on gender role stereotypes about what men and women should do. If this conflict goes unrecognised and unresolved it can give rise to other problems in communication and even overtly sexual intimacy. Sometimes unhealthy role reversals occur between a helpless mother and an anxious, compliant child who becomes the carer – taking on parental responsibilities that deprive her of childhood. Family counselling aims for clarification and renegotiation of these issues.

Dyadic Developmental Therapy helps improve severely disrupted attachments in families.