Center for Anxiety & Chronic Worry

937 Tahoe Blvd., #210;  Incline Village (Lake Tahoe), Nevada; Phone:  775.831.2436

FAMILY THERAPY:  Dictionaries define this term as follows:  "A group consisting of parents and children living together in a household;" "All the descendants of a common ancestor".  Hmmmmm... I think not, at least not in this current century. This might be a description of a traditional family about a half century ago. But today, that definition is less the norm and more the exception.

Families of the 21st Century come in all shapes and sizes, with a wide diversity of household arrangements. Divorce, remarriage, parenting out-of-wedlock, adoption, same-sex couples, and a host of other variables have helped to design the family as we know it today. In 2005, information from the US Census Bureau showed that 70% of children in the US live in a traditional, two-parent family, with 66% of those living with parents who were married, and 60% living with their biological parents, but not necessarily with married, biological parents. When the family is composed of both original biological parents, then this statistic drops to 24.1%. Statistics support  that roughly two-thirds of all US children will spend at least some time in a single-parent household. Thus, when trying to define a "family" we know what it isn't:  Statistically, it is no longer a mother, a father and their biological children living together under one roof (and certainly not with Dad going off to work and Mom staying home). Although perception and acceptance often lag behind reality, there is evidence that a new definition of family — while far from universally accepted — is emerging.

Seven (7) trends of the "new family" have been defined as follows:  (1) More unmarried couples raising children; (2) More gay and lesbian couples raising children; (3) More single women having children without a male partner to help raise them; (4) More people living together without getting married; (5) More mothers of young children working outside the home; (6) More people of different races marrying each other; and (7) More women not ever having children.

The good news:  Even though the forms of family life have changed dramatically, the central importance of family and the satisfaction with family life is as strong as it ever was.

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Center for Anxiety & Chronic Worry

937 Tahoe Blvd., Ste. 210; Incline Village, Nevada 89451  

PHONE: 775.831.2436

Copyright © 2016-2017  Behavior Therapy & Family Counseling Clinic

All rights reserved    Barry C. Barmann, Ph.D.    Mary B. Barmann, MFT

Despite the composition of our family, there's more that's the same about us then there is different.  Yes, it can't be denied that the design of our family contributes to some challenges that are unique to the famlily (LGBT Families, Foster and Group Home Families). But, the truth is,all families experience problems.   Many of these problems seem unique to our own family, and indeed we do put a unique and personal "spin" on our family issues.  Yet, research supports that the majority of our family problems are basic challenges that are universal to all families.The demands of our daily lives will inevitably create conflict and misunderstanding, recurring problems with routine and expectations, challenges associated with different developmental stages, medical, and emotional conditions, changes in finances, and....the list goes on.  So often, families get stuck and despite our best efforts, the quality and satisfaction of our relationships with one another can erode.  You're not alone!  Read on to learn about the most common challenges in most family systems.

The most common reasons families seek out therapy with a Marriage, Family, and Child Therapist (MFT):

  • Children's Behavior Change due to Developmental Stage, Trauma, Medical and Emotional Conditions
  • Parent-Child Conflict
  • Problems between Siblings
  • The effects of illness and other diagnosed conditions on the family
  • Relationship problems between parenting figures and extended family members
  • Changes in Family Structure due to Divorce, Separation, Remarriage, etc.


Family Therapy is based on the belief that the family is a unique social system with its own structure and patterns of communication and interaction. These patterns are determined by many things, including the parents' beliefs and values, the personalities of all family members, and the influence of the extended family (grandparents, aunts, and uncles). As a result of these variables, each family develops its own unique personality, which is powerful and affects all of its members. Family therapy operates under the following concepts:  (1) Issues in one family member may be a symptom of a larger family problem. To treat only the member who is identified as "the one with the problem" is like treating the symptom of a disease but not the disease itself. It is possible that if the person with the the identied issue is treated but the family is not, another member of the family will begin to have issues. This cycle will continue until the problems are examined and treated; (2) Any change in one member of the family affects both the family structure and each member individually.  

Thus, Family Therapy at our clinic focuses on working with the entire family, even when an individual within the family is identified with an issue of concern.  Our Family Therapy orientation uses a combination of approaches and skills associated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Strategic Family Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment (ACT). Generally, our goal is to help you and your family understand one another better, with less judgment and more acceptance and compassion, while at the same time, teaching or making adjustments in how you interact and respond to one another in identified situations which are producing high levels of anxiety, conflict, and stress.  A combination of individual and family therapy sessions take place to assist the family to improve communication, resolve conflicts, define roles, responsibilities, and expectations, deal with specific behavioral and emotional issues associated developmental stages, life transitions, and diagnosed medical and psychiatric concerns (Anxiety, ADHD, Depression, BiPolar Disorder). The overall goal is to help the family make reasonable changes and shifts in their thinking, feelings, and behaviors to bring about less conflict and dissatisfaction, and a sense of heightened meaningfulness and satisfaction within the family system , as well as a deeper connection with one another.  Family work is generally short-term and the number of sessions varies depending on the intensity and severity of the issues of concern, as well as the motivation of the family to do the work. In general, our Clinic has found that 12-16 sessions are helpful in moving the family toward some level of meaningful change (defined as fewer and less intense events of the problem behavior or interaction as well as a shift in a positive direction in the levels of distress and helplessness when the problem behavior or interaction does occur).  During the first two sessions, areas of concern are identified and mutual goals and probable length of therapy are determined.    

Communication      Couples Therapy      Family Therapy   

Infidelity      Intimacy     Parenting Therapy      Relationship Anxiety




Common Challenges Make This True