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Strengthening Our Family Tree

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Michael Bench

on 13 December 2014

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Transcript of Strengthening Our Family Tree

Crucibles and Healing:
Illness, Loss, Death, & Bereavement
Koos' 4 General Types of the Profile of Stress
Are Your Environmental Systems Helping You Grow?
Like Trees, Couples Can Adapt to be Able to Weather the Storms
Family Adjustment and Adaptation Model
When a couple is confronted with continuous stress, they're also faced with how they're going to handle it. As we've learned, excessive stress can lead to distress, but when properly handled, it can actually promote growth and strength. If a couple strives to focus on the positive their trials have provided them, rather than the negative, they have a much greater chance at growing, and not allowing their trial to crush them. Harsh winds can destroy a tree, but if that tree has grown its roots deep and adapted in a way to withstand the extreme conditions, it can confront trying weather and come out unharmed. If couples continuously strive to strengthen their relationship they'll be able to withstand even the most difficult of trials.
Weathering Storms, to Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor
McCubbin and McCubbin’s Family Typology Model
Strengthening Our Family Tree
What is the Root of Your Family's Problems?
According to systems theory, an individual's problem doesn't come from within their head. Rather the "locus of pathology", or the location of the problem, is found in the way that individual interacts with the other members of her system. When she has a problem, that system would be considered dysfunctional.
Urie Bronfenbrenner came up with the theory that there are four ecological systems that one interacts with that affect how a person develops. These four systems are: micro system, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem.
According to dictionary.com to cope means "To face and deal with responsibilities, problems, or difficulties, especially successfully or in a calm or adequate manner."
That means stress does not have to cause distress. One can effectively cope with their challenges and avoid dysfunction in their families.
Is stress the root of all evil?
Don't stress over stress! There's hope!
Now let's learn about some family models and theories, that when properly planted and nurtured, can help us cope and avoid negative stress!
I'm so relieved that stress doesn't
have to ruin my life!
Learning to properly cope with stress can help you reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
Fun Fact: "Anxiety is a response to danger or perceived threat. Immediate or short-term anxiety is often referred to as the fight-or-flight response, so named because all of its affects are aimed toward either fighting or fleeing danger. Thus, the number-one purpose for anxiety is to protect the organism." Family Stress & Coping Created by Michael D. Williams
Doesn't that help you understand why we tend to avoid, and even get out of stressful situations?
Koos' graphs help people better understand how families fare when they encounter a difficulty. Koos' graphs and theory aren't without criticism but they have influenced others, such as Reuben Hill, with their ideas regarding how families deal with, and hopefully overcome, adversity.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT
Drug-free treatment
Treats depression, chronic worrying, shyness, public speaking anxiety, test anxiety, phobias, and panic attacks.
The treatment's goal is full recovery for the patient.
Incorporates cognitive techniques, exposure techniques, and the hidden emotion technique
Reuben Hill's Truncated Roller Coaster Profile of Adjustment
Hill interviewed and observed many families. He wanted to understand the different responses and experiences of those affected by similar stressors. He observed families that did not have contact with their husband or father as a result of WWII.
From his findings, he was able to create 5 truncated roller coaster models that show 5 pattern types of recovery from different families that were away from their husband/father, and that show the effect that the father/husband had on his family upon his return home.
Created by: Michael Bench
FAML 360-04
Hill's ABCX Model
Reuben Hill developed the ABCX Model, to explain “the crisis-proneness and freedom from crisis among families” (Hill, 1958, p. 143) The ABCX Formula is the basis of many family stress models. For this reason Hill has been called the father of family stress theory.
A: Actual Event
B: Both Resources & Responses
C: Cognition
X: The Total eXperience
Hill used the terms crisis-precipitating event and stressor to mean “a situation for which the family has had little or no prior preparation and must therefore be viewed as problematic” ( Family Stress & Coping, Michael D. Williams)
Hill defined a family's resources as factors in family organization that, by their presence or absence, either determined whether a family would be "crisis-proof" or prone to crisis. Hill believed that the family’s crisis-meeting resources, such as family integration and family adaptability, reacted with the crisis-precipitating event and the way the family reacted to the unusual event to determine how the family would define the event, either negative or positive, in their lives.
Hill believed that the way a family defines a crisis-precipitating event greatly impacts whether a family is prone to having a crises, or are able to overcome the event in a positive manner. Attitude can be everything!
Hill's model shows that a family's total experience does not come from only their precipitating crises event, but from a combination of what resources were available for that family, how they made use of them, and how they defined the event in their lives.
The Double ABCX Model
Hamilton McCubbin and Joan Patterson expanded upon Hill's ABCX model by adding post crisis variables to explain, and also to predict, how families recover from crisis. Their more detailed model also helps explain how some families are better able to adapt than others.
Mindfulness consists of being fully aware of what is happening in the present moment without judging your feelings or what ever you're currently experiencing. It consists of being aware of both the mind and body, and living in the here and now, rather than worrying about past or future events. Consistently practicing mindfulness can help you become more aware of yourself and how you feel. By living in the present, one is more able to correct behavior that needs to be altered, and not stress about future events, or spend energy on contemplating past events that bring feelings of remorse or regret.
Time to Practice Mindfulness!
"As you do this practice, put aside all distractions, turn off the phone, and focus direct, clear awareness on each aspect and each moment of the experience. Place a few raisins in your hand. If you don’t have raisins, any food will do. Imagine that you have just come to Earth from a distant planet without such food. Now, with this food in hand, you can begin to explore it with all of your senses. Focus on one of the objects as if you’ve never seen anything like it before. Focus on seeing this object. Scan it, exploring every part of it, as if you’ve never seen such a thing before. Turn it around with your fingers and notice what color it is. Notice the folds and where the surface reflects light or becomes darker. Next, explore the texture, feeling any softness, hardness, coarseness, or smoothness. While you’re doing this, if thoughts arise such as “Why am I doing this weird exercise?” “How will this ever help me?” or “I hate these objects,” then just see if you can acknowledge these thoughts, let them be, and then bring your awareness back to the object. Take the object beneath your nose and carefully notice the smell of it. Bring the object to one ear, squeeze it, roll it around, and hear if there is any sound coming from it. Begin to slowly take the object to your mouth, noticing how the arm knows exactly where to go and perhaps becoming aware of your mouth watering. Gently place the object in your mouth, on your tongue, without biting it. Simply explore the sensations of this object in your mouth. When you’re ready, intentionally bite down on the object, maybe noticing how it automatically goes to one side of the mouth versus the other. Also notice the tastes it releases. Slowly chew this object. Be aware of the saliva in your mouth and how the object changes in consistency as you chew. When you feel ready to swallow, consciously notice the intention to swallow, then see if you can notice the sensations of swallowing the raisin, sensing it moving down to your throat and into your esophagus on its way to your stomach. Take a moment to congratulate yourself for taking this time to experience mindful eating." (Stahl, B., & Goldstein, E., 2010)
Mindfully Eating a Raisin
One of the best ways to understand something, is to try it. A common way to start practicing mindfulness is by mindfully eating a raisin or other food of choice. Follow the instructions that Stahl and Goldstein have prepared to get a taste of mindfulness.
Risk & Resilience in Children
What is Risk?
According to Mark W. Fraiser, a risk factor can be defined as "...Any influence that raises the probability of harm, contributes to a more serious state, or maintains a problem condition." They can be used to predict future outcomes. For example, a child that is physically abused and has an alcoholic father is at greater risk of having behavioral problems or becoming involved in criminal activity later in life in comparison to a child that was not raised in such an environment.
What are Resilience & Protective Factors?
If a child has various risk factors, are they doomed to certain poor outcomes? Of course not. There are children that were raised in poverty (risk factor) that did well in school. Why is it that some children seem to be overcome "the odds" while others are not? Children that are able to overcome the negative effects of risk factors are described as being resilient. Many of these same children were also shielded by some of the negative effects by protective factors. Protective factors are
There are 3 categories of protective variables that promote resilience in childhood.
Biologically based dispositional attributes. Included are neurophysiological and temperamental factors, social orientation and responsiveness to change, cognitive abilities, and coping skills, etc.
Family environment/surroundings. Under this category having at least one positive relationship with a parent or parental figure can greatly help a child avoid pitfalls that risk factors can bring. Having cohesion, warmth, harmony, supervision, and absence of neglect are also very important protective variables.
Extrafamilial social environment. This includes having external resources available as well as having extended social support.
When a child is raised with protective factors, they tend to fair better than those that do not.
Family Decision Making
What is the best way to make important family decisions? Some might say making a compromise, but the Lord as revealed through his servants that family councils are the Lord's way for making important decisions regarding the family.
It Must Be Very Hard, Right?
Nope, not at all! Just follow these simple steps and you and your family can reap the rewards of making decisions the Lord's way!
· Create an agenda that outlines and briefly goes over the topics that will be discussed during the family council. This agenda should be given to all family members in advance to provide them with adequate time to prayerfully consider the important topics.
· Before starting the council, words of love and admiration should be expressed. When people feel that they are genuinely loved and cared about, figurative falls can be broken down, allowing for more involvement and input in the conversation.
· Start with a prayer. When the Spirit of the Lord is invited to attend, there is a much greater chance that a consensus will be arrived. The Lord is more likely to guide a discussion when he is asked to do so.
· Discuss the topics that were listed in the agenda. Each member of the council should be given an obvious opportunity to participate and have their voice and feelings heard. Interruptions and arguments should be avoided. Try to stay on task, and avoid complaining. Try to reach a consensus regarding the topics. At times the consensus will be try a solution for a period of time, and returning to the issue at a later date.
· Close with a prayer, thanking Heavenly Father for his help, and asking for help to follow through with the solutions.
· Conclude by enjoying a snack or delicious refreshment!

The Super Easy Steps!
Just as a Seed Goes Through a Transformation During its Lifetime, so do People
Both the secular and spiritual refer to "crucibles" as the experiences that humans endure that cause a profound loss in their lives. Some examples of such experiences come from "...Illness as loss of health, disability as loss of independence, infertility as loss of hope of having a child, and bereavement as the mortal loss of a loved one in death. Thought these experiences are physical, their influence extends far beyond the temporal aspects of our lives." (W. Robinson, J. Carroll, E. Marshall)

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a crucible is also "A pot in which metals or other substances are heated to a very high temperature or melted." The melted metal can then be shaped and formed into a more valuable and useful tool or object.

As humans we are constantly being put in situations that are at least some what out of our normal comfort zone. These situations symbolically heat us up, melt us, and purge us of our weaknesses, and imperfections. By enduring such experiences, we become completely new people that are stronger and, like gold, our lives become more valuable and of greater importance.
Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory
Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_systems_theory
Image from http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v36/n7/images/ijo201256f2.jpg
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Let's learn more to find out!
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Janice G. Weber the author of "Individual and Family Stress and Crises" explains " The two main phases of the model include the adjustment phase and the adaption phase separated by a crisis. Family adjustment and family adaptation are outcomes of a family's efforts to achieve balanced functioning and are on a continuum from good to poor. The adjustment phase is a relatively stable period when the family meets demands with little change in the system. A crisis state occurs when the family cannot meet demands and becomes imbalanced or in disequilibrium. During the adaptation phase, the family tries to restore balance/homeostasis." (Weber, 125).
Crucible heating gold until it's completely melted and pure.
A seed goes through a transformation to promote growth. Similarly people do as well throughout their lifetime.
My wife and I have been married for a year and a half and have already been confronted with some harsh weather. Just like a strong tree, we've done our best to withstand and to allow those trials to make us stronger and closer to one another. We know that by learning proper techniques to manage stress healthily, maintaining a crucible perspective on life, and learning to seek the positive in all of our trials, that one day our relationship will remain deeply rooted in a firm foundation that will allow us to enjoy the fruits that come with having an eternal marriage.
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