The best 29 family therapy questions

This article will focus on showing what are the best 29 family therapy questions that a therapist may do during a session and why they are important.

The best 29 family therapy questions 

If you are going through family therapy with your family members, you may have been asked some of these questions by your therapist, or you will be soon. 

What led you to look for family therapy?

This may be one of the first questions which will help determine why you and your family are looking for therapy. What are you hoping to get from it, and how much do you and your family perceive the same problem?

Do you feel connected to your family?

By asking this, the therapist is looking to understand if there is a genuine connection with your family members. If you feel that is a relationship that is nurtured and if you have them as a part of your life.

Who is the person you are closest to in your family? 

In this, the therapist is looking to understand in a more detailed manner, the connection between you and your other family members. It will give them an idea of how present each family member is in your life.

What is your relationship like with them? 

And through this question, you will have a chance to detail that relationship a little. Explain to them how you feel about this person, and what are the effects they have on your life.

Is there someone in your family you don’t get along with? 

In the same way, it is important to know the positive relationships, it is also relevant to understand if there is any relationship that brings a negative feeling, and why is that.

Who are you most like in your family? 

Families often have people that are similar to one another. It can be genetics, or because of behaviors, they have learned through life. But knowing who you are most like will also give you a chance to understand if you perceive these qualities as positive, and how you see yourself.

What are they like?

Through this question, you will be able to tell, in detail, what is the positive and the negative aspect of that family member that you feel you are like, and maybe even say something about your traits.

Is there anyone else that is like them? 

This will allow us to understand if this person is a more dominant one in the family structure, which a lot of people resemble.

How does it feel when someone from your family moves away?

In this question, it will be possible to understand how the family group reacts to people going away. How do they cope with missing them, and even if the decision of moving can be taken easily, without the family blaming them for moving away?

Is there anyone interested in similar things as you are? 

Knowing this will determine if there is, in your family, space for sharing hobbies, and discussing things you all enjoy.

Who is important in your life? 

This question will focus on determining if your family as a whole is important to you, or if there are specific people in the family group that holds this space.

What makes them important? 

Through this question, the therapist will learn why those people are important.

Who is the most supportive person in your family? 

Getting a sense of the role each person has in your family is extremely important in family therapy. It is what will allow the professional to understand the patterns of behavior.

How is the family group reacting to these problems? 

You probably went to family therapy to cope with a problem. The therapist needs to understand how you have been dealing with this matter before therapy since it will give them a note of how conflicts are dealt with in the family group.

Are members of the extended family aware of what is happening? 

Through this question it is possible to know if the extended family is close to the main family members, and how participative they are when dealing with trouble.

What was it like to grow up in your family? Share some memories, if you can. 

Exploring the patient’s memory will allow the therapist to understand how the patient felt, through time, inside that family. It is usually at this moment that they will start to show the history of traumas or abuse.

How does it feel to be with your family nowadays?

As you dig into the last, it is important to know if those past stories have left a mark on you. If it affects how you will feel being with your family, and why.

How would your family describe you? 

This will give the therapist a notion of how you are perceived by your family members.

Did you feel safe in your family? 

When thinking of doing family therapy, this is an extremely important question. It is what will allow the therapist to know how comfortable and safe you feel around them, and how safe you might feel through this process.

How does your family deal with conflict? 

Families have different patterns to deal with conflict. Some avoid looking at it, others overanalyze it. Understanding how your family is will give the therapist an idea of how invested they may be in therapy.

Do you feel safe expressing your emotions with your family? All of them? 

In the same way, this question will help the therapist understand how safe it is for you to express how you feel with your family. Some families will only be comfortable expressing positive emotions, for example. So understanding this pattern is important.

Do other members of your family share their emotions?

And through this one, the therapist will be able to understand if the other family members feel it as you do when it comes to sharing emotions.

Were you ever worried about any of your family members? 

This question will allow the family members to talk about any previous concerns they may have had.

How was that concern perceived by your family?

And through this one, they will be able to discuss not only their particular concern but how it was dealt with the other family members.

What are the qualities you bring to your family group? 

This question will look to highlight the positive impact you have on your family group.

Are there any activities you all do together? 

And in this one, the therapist is looking to understand when the family group acts as the family group and if they go on activities together.

Does your family interact with other families? 

Knowing if your family group interacts with other families will allow the therapist to understand how open or not they are to social contact.

Do you think your family is ready to be open and honest in therapy?

This question is focused on understanding how open the family is to the therapy process, and if there is any part of the resistance.

Is there any other relevant information I should know about your family?

And through this last question, you are asked to tell the therapist any other information you may find it is important for them to know as the process is starting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What are the 29 best family therapy questions? 

What are the main goals of family therapy? 

When a family starts to look for family therapy, it may be a sign that something is happening within that family system that is not perceived as positive. People will often go to family therapy in the search of ways for setting and maintaining some healthier boundaries than the ones they have right now.

They may also have, as a goal in family therapy, the need to communicate better. Another tool they may feel is important to develop is how they deal with problematic or conflicting situations. Other families may be looking to better understand their dynamics.

And by doing so, they can try to build a more empathetic relationship. Finally, families can often look for family therapy not only to deal with conflict better but to eventually dissolve some conflict they are going through.

What is intergenerational family therapy? 

In this line of family therapy, generational roles are extremely important. The therapist will try to understand how this family system has established itself through time, what roles were given to each person, and why. 

Through this line of family therapy, it is possible to understand the patterns of behaviors that have been going on through generations and try to manage the anxiety that can come from those. 

It also offers the family members a way of thinking if they want to keep acting as the generations before they did, or if they want to change that pattern, and through the work in family therapy, they can begin to change those roles they were born to assume.

What are the main concepts of family therapy?

There are a few concepts that are the most important in family therapy. One is the differentiation of self, in which the person will learn to differentiate their ego from the other family member’s ego. The second one is the emotional triangle that will talk about the small relationship network, which involves 3 people.

It is also important to understand the family projection process, in which the therapist can know how the parents transfer their anxiety to their children. The multigenerational transmission process discusses how people will act in a pattern that has been going through in their family for generations. 

The emotional cutoff is also an important concept that relates to the idea that a family member will cut ties with others to care for their emotional health. Sibling position is a concept that relates to the role each sibling will play in the family. 

And finally, there is the nuclear family emotional process which discusses the way the family will handle conflict.

What are the limitations of family therapy? 

Although it seems to be extremely beneficial, there is still a need for more scientific evidence on the success of family therapy. Aside from that, some people have criticized that the therapist tends to stay in such a neutral position since that silence can sometimes be interpreted as a sign of approval.

What is structural family therapy?

In this line of family therapy, the therapist will look at the family relationship as it is shown through their interactions in the therapy session. To do so, the therapist can propose activities such as role-play.


This article showed what are the 29 best family therapy questions, and why a therapist may ask them.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.


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