Family Service


Being a parent or carer can be very stressful, especially when the child or young person you are responsible for has emotional and/or behavioural difficulties. Family issues, such as a parent’s ill health, parental arguments, divorce, bereavement or other traumatic events, can impact on children, and vice versa. Many families experience difficulties sometimes. If it feels like family relationships are suffering, if you are no longer sure what to do for the best, or if family members seem stuck in repeating patterns of hurtful or harmful behaviour then Family Therapy may help.

 What is Family Therapy?

Family and Systemic Psychotherapy helps people in close relationship support each other.  It enables family members to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, to understand each other’s experiences and views, appreciate each other’s needs, build on family strengths, and make useful changes in their relationships and their lives.


How might it help my family and me?  

Research shows Family Therapy is useful for children, young people and adults experiencing a wide range of difficulties and circumstances, as well as relationship problems. These include:


  • Family communication problems

  • Child and adolescent behaviour difficulties

  • Mental health problems

  • Illness and disability in the family

  • Separation, divorce and stepfamily life

  • Anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders

  • Fostering, adoption, kinship care and needs of ‘looked after’ children

  • Violence and controlling behaviours

  • Drug and alcohol misuse

  • The effects of trauma

What happens in family therapy?

Family therapy involves members of the family attending the therapy together. The sessions involve identifying views and attitudes and considering aspects of family life that are causing distress.The family will be supported to explore solutions and find a way forward, enabling them to improve relationships which will lead to a more settled home life. In a session, for example,  Dr Milburn might encourage family members to consider the effect that their words and actions have on other members of  the family, or discuss what each person in the family does well and what they are most proud of. He may encourage the family to   draw a  family tree called a  ‘genogram’  to help people think about what the different relationships in the family mean to them. Additionally, sessions involving children will often include play and drawing.

Dr Milburn acknowledges the importance of peoples’ different beliefs, cultures, contexts and life experiences, and will adapt his ways of working according to family members’ ages, needs, resources and preferences. His aim is not to take sides, blame, or provide simple answers but rather his aim is to engage family members in sharing understandings and problem solving.

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