Family counseling is a type of psychotherapy that may have one or more objectives. It may help to promote better relationships and understanding within a family. Or, it may be incident specific for example, during a divorce, or the approaching death of a family member.
Counseling for families often occurs with all members of the family unit present. But this may not always be the case. A family member who suffers from alcoholism or drug addiction might not attend sessions, and might actually be the reason why other family members seek out counseling.
While observing, the therapist often helps the family create better ways of communicating with each other. So family counseling includes instruction and education. It often teaches famly members new and more positive ways to communicate.