Strategic family therapy combines two major therapeutic theories – strategic therapy and family therapy. This kind of therapy differs from other family therapy strategies in that it is a highly structured method of treatment rather than free forming. The goal is to plan, execute strategically, and measure outcomes to help solve inner-familial problems.

How Does Strategic Family Therapy Work?

Inside the safety of a therapy setting, strategic family therapists create scenarios in which the family must interact and converse. The therapist will encourage engagement and offer provocative questions and discussion. During these sessions, problems present themselves. The therapist engineers these situations so everyone involved can realize and understand the issues.

Finding a Family’s Strengths

During strategic family therapy, the goal is to empower a family to solve their problems independently. Each member of the family might have different things they need to work on, such as:

How Can Strategic Family Therapy Help?

While many different families can benefit from a strategic family therapist, there are specific instances where this method is beneficial. For example, families struggling with the following might consider this treatment.

Substance Abuse

Families struggling with substance use disorders can lead to chaotic family life. Children of alcoholics or drug addicts may be experiencing neglect or inconsistent parenting. Strategic family therapy can help develop specific strategies to help everyone overcome these issues.

Conflict-Driven Communication Patterns

Families that engage in frequently conflict-driven communication styles can cause children stress disorders and attachment issues. These families pick fights and press each other’s buttons to create conflict because they do not know how to resolve problems peacefully. We direct families with these issues to practice better communication styles to resolve disputes.

Authoritarian Parenting Style

Families who adopt authoritarian parenting make great demands but give little positive feedback. Children who grow up with this parenting style of “its my way or the highway” tend to have poor self-esteem or experience aggression or shyness. A family like this would likely need to explore the reason behind the parenting style to change it.

Emotional Detachement

Emotionally detached families lack warmth. Children in these families bottle up their feelings and have difficulty opening up to others, leading to a series of failed relationships. This family would need to uncover the reasons behind the lack of attachment, past trauma, abuse, or mental illness.



While there are multiple family therapy strategies, strategic family strategies offer a clear-cut and organized way to resolve interfamilial issues. Therapists will create dialogs and encourage engagement that uncovers problems inside a family structure. The therapist empowers the family to work through their issues together. For example, strategic family therapy can help families struggling with substance abuse, dysfunctional communication styles, authoritarian parenting, or emotional detachment.

Family Strategies Counseling & Mediation is a therapy office serving the Chicagoland Area. We offer couples counseling and mental health services. Our therapists are skilled at working with those struggling to process traumatic events. Call our office at (708) 798-5433 or email us at for appointment details.

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