Case Study: Family therapy for positive change


Violent episodes, truancy, defiance and disruptive behaviour were part of a family’s daily lives.


Two parents were experiencing some difficult and challenging behaviour from their children, particularly from one of their adolescents. They were at a loss for how to discipline or manage the destructive behaviour of their children without resorting to physical violence.


These episodes would often come to a head with the mother in tears and father wanting to use physical punishment to resolve conflict.


A Fonua Ola family therapist was assigned to provide counselling and facilitate a process of the presenting issues for the parents.

A family action plan (FAP) was discussed with the family, focusing on instigating strategies to support the mother as a parent and help the youth control their outbursts. Practical strategies on how to keep everyone in the family safe, the consequences of each family member’s actions and strong communication between family members became the focus of the FAP.


A series of counselling sessions was agreed on between the family therapist and parents.


During the counselling period the family therapist and parents worked together to explore and understand:
  • Family patterns of origin

  • Family beliefs and values

  • Life cycles and development stages

  • Cultural differences

  • The power of neglect and abuse

  • Personal development

  • Couple work

  • Cognitive behaviour therapy


During counselling, both parents began to:
  • Recognise how their own upbringing in regards to values and beliefs have helped to shaped the way they approach parenting

  • Recognise how important their roles as parents are and that changes need to begin with them

  • Discuss what sort of parents they want to become

  • Realise the importance of having a strong and an united relationship to work together as a team

  • Gain knowledge about the difference in their children’s development stages and how to respond to them accordingly and appropriately

  • Hear their children’s voices


Since the family’s involvement with Fonua Ola:
  • The parents are working together and are clear about age appropriate discipline strategies to implement

  • They have included the children’s input into the family rules

  • Relationships have improved between the parents and between the parents and their children

  • The behaviour of the other younger children has improved, and all children are more relaxed with less verbal arguments

  • The adolescent has improved their aggressive behaviour towards the parents and can tolerate the younger siblings

  • The adolescent is more approachable and helpful around the house


This is just one of the success stories Fonua Ola has assisted with.


For more information on how Fonua Ola can help families through family counselling services,

Call 09 270 2089