Demystifying Therapy

When can therapy be a useful resource for families?

How does it work when it does?


Marsha B. Sauls, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist

770 668-0350 x 221


Therapy can be useful:



A functional family has problems and issues on a continual basis but:

·         is good at defining the real problem.

·         has members who are not defensive about discussing their part in the problem.

·         has members who are willing to make changes or grow to make the family “work”.



Some ways all families can get stuck.             How therapy can help.

Inaccurately define problems.

Define underlying problem and focus on solutions that will work rather than keep people busy.

Be too emotionally involved.

Help explore, re-frame, and by-pass emotions that keep  family members defensive.

Get priorities out of line.

Decrease chaos - reprioritize objectives and goals.

Forget families are a system of interrelated and interdependent people in which one person’s behavior cannot occur without affecting other people.

Explore system and its inter-relationship with individual family members, extended family, relationships external to the family, and the family environment.




The therapist acts as coach to help the family get a clearer perspective about how the family interacts, helps the family to explore areas of change, teaches and encourages the family to learn new ways to relate more effectively, and identifies areas of individual personal growth that may be helpful for family members.


At the end of therapy, family members can more effectively, look at the big picture, be more objective, communicate without character assassination, be willing to work to define the problem accurately, be more able to take responsibility for their part of the positive and negatives that happen in the family, and will realize that problems are the norm but don’t have to be destructive.