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improving the lives of people with brain injury

 +44 (0)1353 652165



What is Family/Couples therapy?

Systemic Family/Couples Therapy is a psychological therapy involving you and your partner or family talking privately with therapist/s. A systemic approach aims to promote a shared understand of difficulties through sharing different perspectives of the problem and developing new ways of managing the problem. This may be explored through talking about a particular situation, what has helped before and what alternatives there might be.  The family therapist may apply different approaches to the therapy.  These will be discussed with the couple or family as therapy progresses.

Systemic psychotherapy is an established profession within the NHS, with an evidence base.

Who can benefit from Family/Couples Therapy?

The impact of acquired brain injury (ABI) on the couple/family relationship is well documented and it is widely accepted.  Our service works with families, couples or groups of people to find solutions to the problems experienced as a consequence of ABI or neuropsychological difficulties.  These difficulties may include adjustment and acceptance to the consequences of the brain injury, relationship difficulties, parenting with ABI and other life cycle changes in the context of neuropsychological difficulties.  Research has shown that therapy for these difficulties can be helpful.

If you decide, at any stage, that this kind of therapy is not for you, the therapist may offer some general advice or information about other services that may be available.

How long is Family/Couples Therapy and how often are the sessions?

How many sessions you have depends on your particular situation. However, no therapy works immediately, so we recommend that you come for at least 3 sessions to see if this way of working will suit you.  The therapist typically meets with clients for between 6 and 10 sessions, although some clients find that just meeting a couple of times can help.  Meetings are usually fortnightly, every three weeks or monthly and last for about 1 hour.

Who will I see?

You will meet with a Family and systemic psychotherapist, accredited with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, meaning that they have studied for at least four years as well as completing previous professional training.  In some cases you may have two therapists working with you, but this will be discussed with you beforehand.

Before starting

There is no separate assessment for this therapy. We will invite you and those close to you to an initial consultation.  The initial consultation will involve completing outcome measures, which is a way of evaluating whether the therapy has been useful to you. These are repeated when therapy ends. The session will last for about 1 hour and will help you and the therapist to begin to think about your difficulties and what you would hope to get out of therapy (goals).  Everyone who comes will be able to share their own concerns and how these are affecting their lives. 

We are able to offer sessions both in person and online, via preferred video conferencing platforms. 

Confidentiality and records

Before starting therapy we will ask for your consent to share key information with your GP and other NHS professionals involved in your care. If you are concerned, do check with your therapist exactly what information will be passed on to others.

We do keep records and although you can ask that information is kept entirely confidential, the exception to this may be when we think you or others could be at risk of harm.

Is Family/Couples Therapy effective?

There has been a extensive research to show that Family/Couples Therapy is helpful for a range of problems. 

For more information: Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT) 




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The Oliver Zangwill Centre

The Princess of Wales Hospital
Lynn Road
United Kingdom

  01353 652165
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The Cambridgeshire Mental Health and Primary Care Trust's Charitable Fund. Registered Charity no: 1108920