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Family Systems Therapy

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Nicole Harrison

on 19 November 2012

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Transcript of Family Systems Therapy

Andrea Luther & Nicole Harrison Family Systems Therapy Introduction Family Systems Perspective *A difficult adjustment for counselors because our Western culture tells us to be individuals who make our own choices.

*Yet we are born into a family and most of us live with our entire lives attached to some sort of family. *During the 1950s, Systems Family Therapy began to take root.
*In the beginning, working with families was considered revolutionary. *The Family Systems Perspective holds that individuals are best understood through assessing the interactions between and among family members.

*Symptoms are often viewed as an expression of a set of habits and patterns within a family. This perspective is grounded in the assumptions that a client's problematic behavior may: *Serve a function or purpose for the family.
*Be unintentionally maintained by family processes.
*Be a function of the family's inability to operate productively.
*Be a symptom of dysfunctional patterns handed down across generations. Central Principle:
The client is connected to living systems and the family is an interactional unit with unique traits. Some differences between Individual and Systemic Approaches Individual Therapists May:

*Focus on obtaining an accurate diagnosis.
*Begin therapy immediately.
*Focus on causes, purposes, and cognitive, emotional, and behavioral processes.
* Be concerned with individual experiences. Systemic Therapists May:

*Explore the system for family process and rules, perhaps seeing a genogram.
*Invite family into therapy.
*Focus on family relationships.
*Be concerned with transgenerational meanings, rules, cultural, and gender perspectives within the system and even the community and larger systems affecting the family.
*Intervene in ways to change the context. Adlerian Family Therapy Founder- Alfred Adler

*First psychologist of the modern age to do family therapy.
*First to notice that the development of children within family system was heavily influenced by birth order. *Believed the importance children assigned to their birth order is what mattered.

*Basic assumptions of modern Adlerian family therapy= Both parents and children often become locked in repetitive, negative interactions based on mistaken goals that motivate all parties involved. *The assessment is based on subjective descriptions that family members use to define themselves and interactions in their everyday life.

*In the everyday interactions, the Adlerians seek to discover the purposes and goals of behavior. Multi-Generational Family Therapy Murray Bowen

*One of the developers of mainstream family therapy.
*His theory evolved from psychoanalytical principles and practices.
*Applied his approach to patients with schizophrenia, where he hospitalized entire families so that the family system could be the focus of therapy. *Premise: A predictable pattern of interpersonal relationships connects the functioning of family members across generations.

*Multi-Generational contends that problems manifested in one’s current family will not significantly change until the relationship patterns in one’s family are understood and directly challenged. *The cause of an individual’s problems can only be understood by viewing the role of the family as an emotional unit.

*Emotional problems will be transmitted from generation to generation until unresolved emotional attachments are dealt with effectively. Human Validation Process Model Virginia Satir

*She emphasized family connection.

*Her therapeutic work led her to believe in the value of a strong, nurturing relationship based on interest and fascination with those in her care.

*Strong emphasis on the importance of communication in family interactions and the value of therapeutic validation in the process of change. Four communication stances that people tend to adopt under stress:

1. Blaming
2. Placating
3. Super Reasonable
4. Irrelevance Blaming

When one shifts responsibility to someone else in an effort to preserve self.

Placating

*Taking the blame to protect someone else from being held responsible.
*Trying to make everyone happy so others will be happy with that person. Super Reasonable

*Done to maintain control of one’s messy or painful emotions.

Irrelevance

*Any distracting communication used to avoid stress or pain altogether.
*What people say when they are ignoring problems right in front of them. Experiential Family Therapy -Pioneered by Carl Whitaker as an application of existential therapy to family systems.
-Takes a developmental perspective in explaining individual growth
-Sought to create new meaning out of the family, and encourage family members to be themselves.
-No set of methods, but rather spontaneous techniques based on the counselor’s intuition.
oDesigned to increase clients’ awareness of their inner potential and open family interaction Structural-Strategic Family Therapy -Originated in the 1960s by Salvador Minuchin when he was doing work with delinquent boys from poor families
-Two goals:
oTo reduce symptoms of dysfunction
oBring structural change within the system by modifying the family’s transactional rules and develop more appropriate behavior -Techniques became one of the most used approaches to Family Systems therapy by the 1970s.
-Structuralists see the family as a system, made up of subsystems, boundaries, and hierarchies
-Strategic therapists base their interventions on a communications model, which focuses on stuck interactional sequences in a family Process of Family Therapy Forming a Relationship:

- Egalitarian, collaborative, cooperative, co-constructing relationships.

-Focus on each individual family member by joining, engagement, care and concern.

-“How” questions help the counselor understand family process. Conducting an Assessment

-Genograms allow for a clear, orderly presentation of information Conducting an Assessment (cont.)

-Circular or Relational questioning allow the counselor to get to the bottom of systemic issues. Hypothesizing and Sharing Meaning

- Family therapists cannot be in charge of the family, but they need to be in charge of the process.
Examples: “I have an idea I would like to share. Would you be willing to hear it?” “Could it be that...?” Facilitating Change

- Enactments (having the family play out their relationship patterns during therapy)

- Assignment of Tasks Muticultural Strengths

- Many cultures and families place great value on extended family.

- Family therapists explore the culture of the family, and the culture to which the family system belongs. Shortcomings

- Practitioners may assume the Western values are universal.

- Non-Western cultures may have an issue with the balance between the individual and the collective the theory suggests.

- Not many shortcomings, due to the multicultural focus and collaborative approach of the theory. Limitations
The systemic approach has the potential to lose sight of the individual by focusing on the broader system. Now it's BINGO time!!!!!!!
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