Types of therapies: Family Systems Therapy

Welcome to another exciting #TheoryThursdays!


The most important thing I know about family therapy is that working in therapy with a family does not mean you are having family therapy. The second most important thing I know is that you can use family therapy without a family present.

Family Systems Therapies are the theoretical approaches that use the family system to understand what is not working and to solve it at the same time. The idea that small change can lead to big changes is importantly rooted in this approach.


A professor of mine once told us that the greatest family therapy session is that in which family members forget about the therapist being there.

The therapist will remain as objective as possible, without taking sides, and try to intervene as they would do with an individual client, to serve as a sounding board for what the family is bringing.

The use of genograms is fairly common in this approach, although it is not unique to it. A genogram is the graphic description of a family, that may include different generations, important events, and relationships and dynamics among members.


A slight difference with other kinds of approaches is the use of the identified patient or identified client (IP). Usually, when a family attends therapy, they have targeted someone as the patient, the person who needs the help or around whom some problems have developed.

This does not necessarily mean that in the therapeutic journey this is the sole focus of the therapy. While there is an identified patient, the whole family unit, even the members who are refusing to come, are the clients for the therapist.

Additionally, as I was hinting above, an individual can benefit from working within a systems perspective even if they are going to treatment by themselves. Exploring this person’s genograms, generational trauma, focus on client’s relationships with others and how does interact with current difficulties are some of the examples of how that may look like.


To be honest, I believe Family Systems to be of particular difficulty to practice in therapy. And it is because of that that I have a great admiration for anyone working within the approach.

What do you all think? Anything I have missed? Any experience with this treatment



Corey, G. (2017). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.


Pi Day!

π Today is Pi Day! π

Whether you celebrate it for its numeral significance, or to get yourself a good piece of dessert, I wish you a happy Pi Day! 

It is also my brother’s birthday, who is a mathematician, so it has always been a great celebration in my family. Maybe because of them as well, I have grown valuing science in its many fields.

I love science and human scientific achievement, and while maybe not completely related to mathematics, the therapeutic field owes a lot to all of the scientists who have devoted their lives into finding ways in which to improve our own. 

I want to send a special shoutout to all the women scientists out there. Yoy may be doing field work, developing new methodologies, elaborating some type of research, you may be working in a lab, or teaching others, but in any case: big thanks for your hard work. 

Take time today to honor those known or unknown scientists who do so much for society, sometimes with so little credit!

Happy Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!!

To all the women, women identifying and femmes out there: thanks for fighting the good fight!

I want to take a little bit of space to express how encouraged I am by all women back in my home country, and I will do so in Spanish.

Me siento muy orgullosa de mis compatriotas por todos los movimientos feministas que han salido en los últimos años.  Hace no mucho, ser feminista era ser algo horrible, algo sucio. Ahora no tenemos miedo de luchar por lo que queremos, y decirlo en voz alta.

Mañana muchas de vosotras vais a ir a la huelga feminista. Otras no podréis. Sé que de alguna manera estaremos todas unidas por la lucha. 

Desde Chicago, intentaré apoyar la huelga en la manera que pueda, y os tendré a todas muy en mente. 

¡Un abrazo amigas y a seguir la lucha! 




Types of therapies: Postmodernism

Welcome to #TheoryThursdays!

Continuing with my long-awaited series on theoretical orientations, I wanted to follow up with some generalizations about what is considered postmodern theories of psychotherapy.



I believe that essentially all that came after humanism is considered postmodern, although the approaches may differ greatly from one another and shouldn’t be put together (as I am about to do now).

On the field of psychology, someone’s perspective was starting to be considered more important, creating the notion of social constructionism. Even some humanist approaches, where starting to show postmodern signs on their development.

Thus, having the person (or the community) es the center, these theories base the therapeutic work on the client, and not on the knowledge of the therapist. Some will do that by listening to a client’s storytelling (Narrative therapy); others will try to work with what the individual has done great so far, and try to use that to their advantage (Solution Focused Therapy); while others will focus on the understanding of societal gender roles and racial discrimination (Feminist Therapy).


The therapist usually works from an informed-not-knowing perspective. This means that therapist will be trained and informed about human nature, but will enter the therapeutic relationship with the curiosity needed to learn from the client.

The therapist strives to create a collaborative relationship in which therapeutic knowledge, positivity, and curiosity guide, but don’t conduct, the therapeutic journey.


The client is, as I described with human theories, the one with the knowledge and power to create change.

The client is co-facilitator of their own therapy. This perspective wholeheartedly believes that clients can be trusted in their own recovery and that they have the capacity for healthy development.


Overall, I have greatly benefited from these approaches both as a therapist and as a client. Do you have any experience with a postmodern therapist? Please, I am eager to know! 🙂




Corey, G. (2017). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.



Safety Plans

Through my work as a therapist, I have often encountered the need to discuss and develop safety plans with my clients. Safety plans are more commonly used with people that have suicidal ideation, self-harm behaviors, or thoughts related to harming others.

A safety plan is a guide for yourself to have whenever you are not feeling so well. By creating this guide while you have more energy or are more stable, you are making it easier to have some go-to options for when you are not doing so great. A safety plan generally includes different sections that will help you explore what emotions you are dealing with, how to distract yourself or cope and options for you to talk to others.

They can be done by anyone, and often created within a therapeutic setting. While mostly used for the cases mentioned above, I believe they do no harm to people dealing with less severe emotional difficulties.

I have created some documents for you all to download:

Download: Blank Safety Plan

Download: Pocket safety plan an abbreviated smaller version to keep in your wallet or pocket.

Let me know what you think!


Disclaimer: These materials and article are not substitutes for medical care. If you are having any suicidal thoughts, talk to your therapist, call the national suicide helpline or go to your nearest emergency room.


On Staying Grounded

Lately, I’ve been finding it harder to be present. When stress hits me, my tendency is to stay in the past or the future.

I get stuck in the past by overthinking what I have done recently, these past days, or previously on the day. I ruminate on difficulties or mistakes and I replay different scenes in my head.

I get stuck in the future by thinking about what I would want to change, what could be different, and how fast I want to get there.

In either one of those situations, I completely forget to be present. I go through my day without enjoying myself, without really BEING there. 

Some years ago, I used a mindfulness bell app that helped me check with myself every so often. I would take a deep breath, reflect on how my body was feeling, and what sort of emotions were more active. Very often I would find myself clenching my teeth, being completely tense, or experiencing some sort of emotion without being aware.

This kind of bell is currently not so attractive to me, mostly because of the difficulties to have something like that at work added to an important layer of cultural appropriation of which I was not so aware some time ago. 

Now, what can we use to keep ourselves grounded? It’s much more difficult to stay present when we have to do it consciously. Whether you do it with an app or try to do it regularly here are some ideas:

Stay connected to your external senses. A classic grounding exercise would be to try to find 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you touch, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste. This simple exercise will quickly bring you back to the present, as the mind is not able to focus on these external cues while worrying.

Listen to your body needs. Am I hungry? Do I need to sleep? Am I thirsty? Do I need to use the bathroom? When we are not grounded we forget about some of this internal signals. Try to consciously check with yourself. It may be more difficult than expected, especially if you are recovering from an eating disorder or addiction, as this connection to your needs may have been erased by other urges and behaviors. Don’t worry, one step at a time.

Literally feel the ground. Without wanting to reduce this notion to a new-age kind of solution, there is some benefit in connecting our physical bodies to the ground. Like in mountain pose in yoga, by standing tall and trying to connect your feet to the ground you may find your inner ground-ness increase.

Move your body. If you have difficulties with connecting to your physical body, try using your body for movement. You can try to go to the gym, practice yoga, go dancing, or stretch at the office among others. If you have mobility difficulties, you can try moving any part of your body, by doing it very consciously. How does it feel? How are you experiencing those body parts after they move? Are you more aware of them than before?


Do you all have any ideas to stay grounded that may be helpful for others? I want to hear them! 🙂






Therapistry is open!

Today I bring you all my latest project, Therapistry! A store in which I mix the worlds of therapy, art and geek culture all together.


I’ve been working on this for some time, and I hope you will like the ideas as much as I loved creating these products! CLICK HERE to take a look at the store.

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