The West Dorset Family Service provides dedicated counselling support for individuals, couples and families across West Dorset, at a clinical base staffed by fully trained psychotherapists, used to working with relational difficulties of all kinds.

An initial one hour appointment will be given to discuss the presenting problems: the history of the difficulties, the effect of those involved, past solutions that have been tried and ideas for future resolution. A plan will then be made either to conduct a series of one hour sessions, at times and intervals to suit everyone or to refer the work elsewhere. At the end of these, a review will decide whether to end or continue with a new series of sessions.

All counselling is strictly confidential between those present unless it is agreed that others should be briefed by letter or other means or invited to future meetings.

The Family Systems approach regards the family as a whole as the unit of joint work and emphasises such factors as relationships and communication patterns rather than personal traits or symptoms in individuals. Family therapy is based on systems theory which understands the family to be a living organism that is more than the sum of individual members. Problems are relieved by making changes in the system rather than trying to 'fix' a specific person's issues.