Should I Try Family or Individual Therapy?

You may be considering therapy if you’re going through family struggles. These could include drug or alcohol abuse in a family member, internal family conflicts, trying to bring up an important topic with parents, and more. 

If you’re considering therapy to deal with family conflict, you may be wondering whether family or individual therapy is a better choice. Should you talk with your family in the comfort of a therapist’s office? Or should you utilize individual therapy to get up the courage to talk to your family yourself? 

Below, we delve into whether family or individual therapy is a better choice for dealing with family conflicts. 

Benefits of Family Therapy

First, we’ll start with the benefits of family therapy. 

Family therapy is therapy for two or more family members at one time. The therapist is a neutral third party that can help you come to a conclusion or agreement with your family members. You may all meet with the therapist one-on-one before coming together for a group session. 

Some of the benefits of this type of therapy include: 

  • A trained moderator for your family discussion 
  • Someone who has knowledge about common family conflicts
  • You may get more of a chance to speak without interruption 
  • You and your family member/s will learn new skills together
  • Your conversation will be more structured 

You may benefit from family therapy over individual therapy if your family usually has heated arguments, interrupts each other, or refuses to hear each other out. 

Benefits of Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is therapy for one person. There are over 15 types of individual therapy. However, the one most commonly known in the therapy world is called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It can help you talk through your conflicts with a therapist, who will then give you advice on healthier coping mechanisms and help you come to conclusions for yourself about your struggles. 

If you are using an individual therapist to talk about family problems, you won’t have your family in the room with you. However, you will be able to bring home your knowledge and use your new coping skills to deal with family conflicts a little easier. 

The benefits of individual therapy include:

  • You have space to say what you truly feel without feeling scared of what your family might think
  • You can learn on your own time 
  • You don’t need to hear the opinions of anyone else until you’re ready 
  • You can also talk about other conflicts in your life at the same time 

You may benefit most from individual therapy over family therapy if you’re not ready to talk to your family yet, or if you want a more individualized experience. 

Disadvantages of Family Therapy

Of course, there are some disadvantages to family therapy as well. It’s not for everyone. 

Here are some of the disadvantages or possible problems that could arise with family therapy: 

  • Your family may not be on the same page as you about what needs to be accomplished
  • Your family may continue to hold the same beliefs and not change them 
  • You may feel like the therapist is taking sides, even if they aren’t 
  • Your family may refuse to go to family therapy with you if you’re arguing 
  • More conflict can arise at home when talking about the session 
  • Your family’s attachment styles do not line up 

Even though family therapists are taught to deal with these issues, problems can arise in any area. That’s why it’s essential to see if your family is even willing to work through this with a therapist before you try. 

Disadvantages of Individual Therapy

If you’re still unsure about individual therapy, we’ve put together some disadvantages for you to make an informed decision about whether or not it’ll work for you. 

  • You won’t be able to have a mediator in family conflicts
  • You may forget your therapy skills as soon as you’re at home in the middle of a conflict
  • You won’t get to hear your family’s point of view in a therapeutic and calm setting
  • You may not hear how your family is really feeling
  • You may only think of your point of view 
  • An individual therapist may not have as much knowledge of family conflicts

Overall, it’s up to you to decide which option is worth it. 


If you’ve still got questions about family topics, check out BetterHelp. They’ve got a massive list of mental health topics to peruse and information about online and group therapy as well. Family conflicts can feel like the end of the world, but there’s always hope. A family or individual therapist can make all the difference in healing conflicts and building closer relationships with your family. 

Marie Miguel Biography

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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