Messages of hope

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Client feedback can be viewed by clicking on the image below

The stories, pictures and comments below come from people who have experienced Family Therapy as clients. Sometimes clients are referred to as ‘service users’. AFT prefers to call them ‘experts by experience’. Sometimes, to protect the anonymity of our ‘experts by experience’, we have edited or changed identifying details.

AFT animations

University of Brighton Digital Media Design students have created short animated films using testimonies from young people, adults and families who've experienced family therapy. AFT's thanks and congratulations go to the students for their creativity. The films are scattered throughout these 'Messages of Hope' and can also be viewed and dowloaded as a series.  

AD, a 'dad, partner + son'

‘It takes courage to say to your family maybe therapy might help us. A turning point for me was when I saw that not as failure but as a gesture of love. We cared enough to try. We’ve sorted lots of stuff out between us. We did it together’.

JD, 'daughter, step-daughter, sister and dancer', aged 10

Me before …. And me now most of the time. Things feels much better.

JL, mum

I’d like to give a message of hope. My 20-year-old son and I have been having family therapy sessions for 18 months now, following many years of him having to cope with my being bipolar (this was only diagnosed about 3 years' ago) and my various mental breakdowns. Our relationship has improved 10 fold from what it was to what it is now. I never thought it would improve - but it has.

L.I, 'wife and mother'

Family Therapy has been one of the key ways we have learned how to support our daughter and help her deal with her illness. It's enabled us to build the confidence to discuss issues without fear of recrimination. It has been enormously helpful to have an experienced therapist who has the skill to direct the session in a positive way.

'We were never made to feel that we were in the wrong. Within the sessions we have learned to understand our roles and behaviours within the family. Understanding this has enabled us to change. At the moment, our daughter is doing well.'

Mr and Mrs B, 'recovering alcoholic and partner'

'We both experienced a sense of growth towards mutual understanding. We felt able to include our children and confront difficult, sensitive issues.'


EP, 'father and partner'

The family therapy team has supported us in our attempts to cope with the serious behavioural difficulties of our eldest son. They have advised us on how to adapt our parenting styles to better meet his needs. The team’s kindness, understanding and expertise have been invaluable to us. They have given us hope when we have despaired, pointed out the good when all we could see was the bad, and encouraged and reassured us. It is with their help that we remain a family.

A 'mother, son & sister'

Mum: ‘What’s helped, what’s different? Prior to family therapy my relationship with my son was at breaking point. Now, six month’s on, we’re listening to each other, getting on better. We have a different type of relationship.’

Son: 'I’m more appreciative of my Mum, want to make it easier for her. Having my sister in sessions gave a different perspective.'

Sister: 'I found the family sessions valuable as it gave me and my family a chance to sit down together and discuss issues in the home that we would not have otherwise. It opened my eyes and gave me the opportunity to see how my younger brother valued spending time together as a family, something I probably overlooked before the meetings. The meetings then gave us the chance to think about how we could do things differently day to day to improve life at home for everyone. They’ve made us all more considerate towards each other and this has meant we are more comfortable with discussing life at home.'

'My sister’s anorexia’ by LB, aged 9

It has helped my family with this.

KB, 'mum + partner', aged 38

'There was so much happening. The youngest was ill, our other two were at each other’s throats, I was exhausted, we were all rowing. Having a bit of time to think "what are we doing" and to understand what was going on for each of us all was helpful. It was good how we listened to the children.'

A 'mum and dad'

Mum: 'What was helpful about Family Therapy? Opening communications with my son and discussion without confrontation. Understanding his needs. It created new bonds between him and his dad. We discovered our daughter.'

Dad: 'Being able to talk through issues without confrontation and having someone direct the discussions along the most helpful lines'.

RC, 'Dad'

It was helpful having a space to talk away from everyday commitments and be listened to by someone in a different way and more careful than usual. It gave us opportunity to show again we all care about each other.

GF, 'daughter', 17

'It's not for everyone, but it helped me a lot to be heard. It’s worth sticking at until you know if it'll be helpful or not. I found it hard sometimes but it was helpful.'

A 'dad and daughter'

Dad: Family Therapy has given us more appreciation of the need to keep communication open and to be prepared to accept reasonable compromises. Just to be aware of other's feelings and not to dismiss them as being unimportant or irrelevant.

Daughter: I think we talk more and tolerate each other a lot more. Very much so now with my Dad.

A 'mum, dad and three sisters'

Sister L: I feel that our family is closer and more open with each other. When mornings are very very hard we get up together, as a family and tell each other what was bothering us.

Sister S: It has made me more aware of how my behaviour affects my sister and how I can change that.

Dad: It has made me think that everyone deals with stress and problems in different ways. Hopefully I can be more alert now to things that need my attention and to 'read the signs’ before anything bad happens.

Mum: I feel things have improved as I feel stronger in dealing with boundaries rather than being left feeling guilty.

Sister P: Everyone is more understanding of each other’s feelings and we are closer.

A 'mum and daughter'

Mum: The problems are still there, but I have a more realistic approach to solving them and am not so angry and confused.

Daughter: You can’t change the past, but Mum and me get on better and I'm more confident that it’s not all my fault.

Share your experiences

Many people have misconceptions about therapy. Sharing your comments, pictures and experiences could help others considering Family Therapy, and reflect the difference it can make to lives and relationships. Contributions from clients of all ages are welcome. Please only share what you are comfortable with. AFT will consider all submissions but cannot publish all. It reserves the right to edit submissions and to remove identifying details. AFT will take submission of feedback in words, pictures or other forms as permission for use in its publications, website and other media. If you would like to submit Messages of Hope for others considering Family Therapy, please contact us.



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