The Effectiveness of Relational Family Therapy on the (Religious) Life in Adulthood Affected by Losses in Childhood


  • Tanja Valenta, M.S. Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Ljubljana


loss, bereavement, relational family therapy


Despite of the severity of the loss of a parent and frequency of parental divorce there has been no assessment of the impact of resolving the unspoken and unmourned losses from childhood through relational family therapy and its impact on adult everyday life. The aim of this paper was to estimate and assess the impact of relational family therapy on posttraumatic growth and to reduce symptoms of unresolved grief such as panic disorder, anxiety and depression. Two cases of relational family therapy are described, with two adult women who experienced their fathers’ death at an early age. One of them came into therapy with anxiety and panic disorder, the other with depression and frozenness. In twelve sessions of relational family therapy they reached, together with an empathic therapist, the deepest grief they have never spoken of before. In both, the results were reduced symptoms and a more optimistic view of life. This paper points at the value of relational family therapy techniquesin resolving grief and reducing symptoms of panic disorder, anxiety and depression. A wider impact of relational family therapy on posttraumatic growth should be considered in future research.






Challenges for the family faith formation