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Structural Family Therapy

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Jo-Anna Blake

on 16 October 2014

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Transcript of Structural Family Therapy

by Jo-Anna Blake, Jordanna Comeau, and Sarah Greenslade
Structural Family Therapy
Role of the Counselor

The basic overlaying goal of structural family therapy is the restructuring of the family system to be more flexible and adaptable to change.
Example of SFT
Role Playing!
You will be divided up into groups. Within your groups, you will be given a role-playing card. Read it through carefully and then act out the situation within a counseling setting. Once you have finished, discuss what techniques worked for the counselor and how the session could be improved.
Brainstorm: Strengths and Limitations
View of Human Nature
people are parts of a system that works together as a whole

when the family group is not functional it is because one of its parts is not working, meaning a member of the family is not filling the role they have been assigned

Guided Discussion:

Presentation outline
"I describe family values as responsibility towards others, increase of tolerance, compromise, support, flexibility. And essentially the things I call the silent song of life--the continuous process of mutual accommodation without which life is impossible." - Salvador Minuchin (1993)

Bugbaganator. (2013). Structural Family Therapy Session One. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOjqL3p-dSo&spfreload=1.

Colapinto, J. (2000). Structural Family Therapy; in A. J Horne (Ed.) Family Counseling and therapy 3rd edition. Itasca, IL; Peacock

Hammond, R. T., & Nichols, M. P. (2008). How Collaborative Is Structural Family Therapy? The Family Journal, 16(2), pp. 118-124. doi: 10.1177/1066480707313773

Méndez, N., Qureshi, M., Carnerio, R., & Hort, F. (2014). The Intersection of Facebook and Structural Family Therapy Volume 1.American Journal Of Family Therapy, 42(2), 167-174. doi: 10.1080/01926187.2013.794046

Minuchin, Salvador. (1993; reviewed 2012) On Family Therapy; Psychology Today June 20, 2012 editon. Sussex, LLC. retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200910/family-therapy

Nugent, F.A., & Jones, K.D. (2009). Introduction to the profession of counseling (5th edition). New York: Merrill Pretice Hall.

PsychotherapyNet. (2012). Salvador Minuchin on Family Therapy Interview. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=2evU02UocpQ.

Vetere, Arlene. (2001). Structural Family Therapy. Child psychology & psychiatry review, 6(3), 133-139.

Winek, J. (2010) Systemic Family therapy: From Theory to Practice. London. Sage. (Chapter 8 Structural Family Therapy)
Salvador Minuchin
SFT examines relationships as a potential cause of distress.
It aims to alter organizational patterns and eliminate unhelpful and harmful behaviours.
By changing the family structure, SFT is able to change family members' positions and lived experience.
SFT's approach emphasizes teamwork, adaptability, practical problem solving, and feedback.
It responds to presenting problems and raises consciousness in the family.
The role of the counselor is to help the family properly identify the source of the "problem" then help the family create boundaries and subsystems that correct the family's non-functional structure.
Structural therapeutic efforts are based on the principle that action leads to new experiences and insight (Vetere, 2001)
"When the structure of the relational group changes, the positions of members in the group changes. Thus it is said, each individual's experience changes and therein lies the potential to alleviate symptomatic distress." (Vetere, p. 134)
SFT depends on clients' willingness to participate.
The counselor's active role can lead to burnout.
Counsellors' preconceived notions of "appropriate" family structures can become oppressive.
Ex. biases that are heteronormative or culturally insensitive.
Steps of therapeutic intervention
1. Joining
2. Working with interaction and observation
3. Mapping of the family structure
4. Highlighting and modifying
5. Restructuring and boundary making
6. Homework and challenging assumptions
7. Assessment of family structure
Feminist theorists critique SFT for paying attention to intergenerational power dynamics and not power imbalances within the same generation (ie. couple relationships).
SFT focuses solely on the nuclear family and it does not account for the influence of extended families, community, societal structures, and institutions.
The Intersection of Facebook and Structural Family Therapy
“The therapist, rather than attempting to take Facebook out of discussion, should allow the family to engage in an enactment and join them in order to fully understand the dynamic of their relationships” (Méndez, Quershi, Carnerio, & Hort, p. 172).

“The outcome of this case entailed the therapist learning to utilize Facebook as a way to reconnect father and daughter. The therapist worked to help reinforce the father’s rules and establish his role in the hierarchy. However, the therapist ensured to work with Beatrice on understanding what void the gentleman in jail was fulfilling for her.” (p. 172)

“Therapeutic change is when the process of helping the family to outgrow its stereotyped patterns of which the presenting problem is a part (Colapinto, 1982). In looking at this definition, the therapist implemented new patterns the family abided by to help re-establish the father daughter relationship. The father was able to establish his role by implementing stricter rules on the use of Facebook in the house. However, the therapist cleverly encouraged the family to set up father-daughter events, a feature on Facebook, to add structure and consistency of time spent with one another. Beatrice and her father responded well to this as they share a common interest for their love of technology.” (p. 173)

structural vs strategic
History and founder
View of human nature
Role of the counselor
Steps of therapeutic process
Role play interactive activity
Brain storming class activity
Strengths and limitations
Group discussion of the Facebook article
Closing comments and questions

Applications of Structural Family Therapy

Some Key Terms:
Transactional patterns
Enmeshed family structure
Disengaged family structure
Structural vs
lead them to water and tell the its good for the to drink

the experience leads to new insights and allows the family to identify their own problems and develop the solution that works best for them.
tell them they are thirsty and give them a bottle of water

tell them what the problem is and give them the solution.

family conflicts
poor communication
divorce and separation
eating disorders
anxiety and depression
drug use; parent or child
Full transcript