Articles by Jacqueline McDiarmid, family therapy, Uncategorized

10 Things to Expect in Adult Family Therapy Sydney

Family Therapy can reduce conflict, ease resentment and shift long-standing patterns of behaviour in adult families. But what will actually happen when you attend sessions with a trained and skilled Family Therapist?

Here are 10 things you can expect from Family Therapy Sydney for your adult family:

You will feel heard – Family Therapy sessions give everyone a chance to be fully heard. In the first session your Family Therapist will get to know you by asking about your concerns and exploring what’s been happening in the family. By gently guiding the conversation, the Family Therapist will make sure you feel valued and understood.

You will feel safe – Family Therapy sessions are structured so that each person has a chance to express their thoughts and feelings without interruption. Your Family Therapist might suggest the entire family group attends some sessions, but other sessions involve two people or even one person. The process ensures that everyone feels safe and is supported to talk openly.  

You’ll get a chance to say how you’d like your relationships to look and feel – The Family Therapist takes an active stance to pinpoint individual goals for each family member and joint goals for the whole unit. The focus is on looking ahead and encouraging you to think about how you want your relationships to be in the future. 

You will be given a map of the work – by the end of the first session you will be given feedback on what your Family Therapist thinks is going on in the family and a map of the work ahead. It will help you feel confident about the process.   

The work will be productive – the Family Therapist will keep the sessions productive and on track. This type of therapy is focussed on outcomes. Your Therapist will identify the roles individual family members play in the family ‘system’. They’ll reflect on patterns of behaviour that have become entrenched in your family, and then gently challenge you all to relate in new ways.

Conflict will be managed – your Family Therapist is skilled at managing conflict in the room, and will show you how to talk about difficult topics in a productive way. You will also learn tactics and strategies for managing your own emotions. Clients often tell us the skills they learn in Family Therapy are useful in other areas of life.

You will communicate better – Family Therapy is a great way to learn how to communicate in a healthy and non-toxic way. You will be shown how to hold constructive multi-way conversations, and how to reduce unhealthy use of text messages, phone calls and social media posts. You will also get advice on how to manage tricky social situations.

You’ll learn what to expect when older parents separate and re-partner – Family Therapy Sydney can offer direct help with what to expect from your parents when they separate later in life and how adult children respond when this happens. You will learn skills to successfully navigate this difficult transition.

Past hurts will be addressed – long-standing wounds between family members can be repaired. 

Cut-offs and estrangements are worked on – Family Therapists are highly skilled to work with adult families where there has been a cut off or estrangement. You will be guided through a process to repair the cut-off and understand why it has occurred.

If you think you and your family could benefit from Family Therapy, please contact Sydney Couple and Family Specialists on 02 8968 9397. For family members who live far away, we also offer online Family Therapy which involves bringing people together using a secure video platform.

About Jacqueline

Jacqueline has been in private practice for more than two decades, helping individuals, couples and families.  She has extensive experience in couple and family therapy and is considered a specialist in these areas. In her clinical practice, she has helped people deal with complex trauma, affairs, complex mental health issues, eating disorders, adolescent behavioural problems (including self-harm and suicidal ideation), behavioural issues in young children which are impacting parents and families, relationship issues and post-separation work.

Jacqueline works with many different dynamics: couples, parents, families with young children, same-sex couples, foster/adopted families, families with teenagers and also adult families.  She is particularly interested in helping parents of children with behavioural issues, or with diagnosed conditions such as anxiety, ADHD, ASD and so on.

Although Jacqueline’s work is supportive and friendly, she will challenge her couples and families to make the necessary behavioural changes, to repair relationships and to move towards healthier communication styles in the future.

Jacqueline’s style is direct and fast paced and she is known for quickly getting to the heart of the matter.  Clients report that they feel safe and understood with Jacqueline.

Qualifications and Professional Membership

Jacqueline has a Masters in Couple and Family Therapy (UNSW). She has a Bachelor degree in Counselling and Human Change, and a Diploma in Psychotherapy and Counselling.

Jacqueline is a Clinical Supervisor for Counsellors and Therapists. She lectures in couple and family therapy at Masters and Post Graduate level, and is currently Head Lecturer for the Couple and Family Therapy course (Masters) at the Jansen Newman Institute.  She has been a Lecturer at the University of Western Sydney and Sydney University, and continues to guest lecture at other tertiary institutions.

Jacqueline is also the Director of the Couple and Family Training Centre where she runs regular professional development workshops and seminars for Therapists, Counsellors, Psychologists, Social Workers and Health Industry Workers who are looking to gain skills in this specialist area.

She is a Clinical Member of the Family Therapy Association of Australia and a Clinical Member of PACFA.

“Thank you for seeing me today. Your help with all our family issues and all your advice has been invaluable.
I don’t know how other families do it, without a Jacqueline in their lives.” – Anna (43) step-mum and mum to four children.

If you feel as though you could benefit from talking with a Therapist please contact  The Sydney Couple and Family Specialists on 02 8968 9397 or email

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