Introduction to Family Counseling


How do you define “family”?
„ „

What constitutes a family? What are the characteristics of a “healthy” family?


What are some strategies that you have seen families use to improve relationships? Why do families sometimes resist taking obvious steps toward improvement?


General Concepts

Systems Theory



More than the sum of its parts

How is symptom maintained? Boundaries


Feedback Loops


Negative & Positive


Circular Causality

Family Life Cycle
Differentiating from family of origin Negotiating rules

Separation & indvidualization Rules change Marital relationship changes

Infant/ Preschool
Transition to 3 Reorganizing rules Autonomy/ Attachment

Responsive vs. Reactive Reexamination of career/ marriage



Communication patterns established Retirement Reorganizing Death of spouse Career changes Grandparenthood

Bowen Family Systems „ Differentiation of self „ „ Emotional cutoff Fusion „ „ Triangles Family Projection Process „ Multigenerational Transmission Process Bowen cont’d „ „ The problems of the past are visited in the future Goals of therapy: „ „ Increase differentiation of self DeDe-triangulation Structural Family Therapy „ Family Structure „ „ Hierarchical Reciprocal/ Complementary „ „ Subsystems Boundaries „ Manage proximity & hierarchy .

Structural Family Therapy Boundaries Rigid „ „ Permit little contact outside system Benefits: „ „ „ „ Diffuse Few boundaries within system Benefits: „ „ Independence Mastery „ Mutual support Warmth Dependence Trouble relating to others „ Limitations: „ „ Limitations: „ „ Little warmth. nurture Disengagement Structural Family Therapy Family Structure Rigid Boundary Clear Boundary Diffuse Boundary Coalition Conflict Detouring Involvement Overinvolvement Structural Family Therapy Goals „ Change structure of family „ Altering boundaries Realigning subsystems „ .

g..Structural Family Therapy Techniques „ „ Joining Working w/ interaction „ „ Modify interactions „ „ „ „ Who talks to whom? When? In what way? Enactments Spontaneous Bx Seq (e. interpretation) Intensity Shaping competence B/w subsystems Focus on subsystem „ „ „ Boundary making „ Unbalancing „ „ Diagnosing „ Challenging assumptions Experiential Family Therapy Overview „ Humanistic & Existential SelfSelf-awareness SelfSelf-expression „ SelfSelf-actualization „ „ „ Development of Problems „ „ Result of suppression of feelings Lack flexibility Experiential Family Therapy Goals „ Growth „ „ Balance belongingness & individuation Emotional experiencing „ Symptom relief „ Through selfself-awareness & actualization .

Experiential Family Therapy Techniques There are no techniques. blaming Æ negative interaction patterns Goals of therapy: „ Reprocess negative emotional sequences Narrative Therapy Stories don’t mirror life… they shape it. coerciveness. . only people „ Family Sculpture „ „ Family Art Therapy „ „ Current „ „ Identified patient Each member Joint family scribble Family drawing „ „ Future Family puppet interviews Kinetic Family Drawing „ Role Play „ Emotion Focused Couples Therapy „ „ „ „ Johnson & Greenberg Based on attachment theory Weak attachment Æ conceal emotions Æ use withdrawal.

Narrative Therapy: Basic Assumptions „ „ „ „ „ All knowledge is constructed “Stories” shape how we interpret events People have good intentions & want to change People are NOT their problems People are effected by cultural discourses Narrative Therapy: Goals of Therapy „ Externalization „ Separate the person from the problem Find exceptions „ Deconstructing problemproblem-saturated stories „ „ CoCo-authoring new stories Narrative Therapy: Techniques „ „ „ „ „ „ Clients tell problemproblem-saturated story Externalizing language Mapping the influence Relative influence questions Reauthoring the whole story Reinforcing the new story .

Narrative Therapy: Examples „ „ „ „ “Depression made your daughter act this way…” “How does GUILT effect you?” “What does it say about you that you were able to battle ANGER this way?” “How much has the problem controlled you this past week & how much have you controlled the problem?” Interviewing a Problem „ Example: „ „ „ „ „ „ What areas of Johnny’s life are you causing trouble with? Work? Friends? Do you interfere with his judgment? Opinion of himself? In which areas do you think you have the upper hand? What people in his left have kept free from your influence? How have they managed that? What about Johnny is making a bit of trouble for you? Does anything about Johnny and his family make you nervous? .

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.