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Module #5 By: Jorge Y Gonzales-Lara June 28, 2010 1. Define the concept of system’s theory Systems theory is a transdisciplinary approach, which abstracts and considers a system as a set of independent and interacting parts.The concept that units of a system are related to each other in some fashion, and that system is structured by those relationships. Organization is a fundamental concept in systems theory. If a system represents a set of units or elements that stand in some consistent relationship to each other, then it can be interred that system is organized around these relationships. The Systems Theory is a family system theory is a body of knowledge that arisen out of the observations of clinical and counseling psychologists as they work with individuals and their families. Theory suggests that individuals cannot be understood in isolation from one another; families are systems of interconnected and independent individuals, none of whom be understood in isolation from the system. Wholeness is generally a simple principle of systems theory representing two fundamental principles: • No system can be adequately understood or full explained once it has been broken into its component parts or elements
• No element within a system can be fully understood in osilotation, since no elements independently.
2. Define the term “circular causality” and give examples from a family systems perspective. Circular causality expresses the interrelations between levels in a hierarchy: a top-down macroscopic state simultaneously influences microscopic particles that bottom-up create and sustain the macroscopic state. The state exists over a span of inner time in the system that can be collapsed to a point in external time. Events in real time are marked by changes in the state of the system, which are discrete. Family system theory states that the individual and the environmental are continuously informing each other. The concept of Circular Causality suggests that the individual and the envorimoment are influence in continuous circular feedback exchanges that reciprocally shape and influence each other over time. The family system is based on: • Set of elements in consistent relationship to each other • Subsystems have specific functions within the system • Information should flow within the subsystems.
The nuclear family Composed of the mother Cassies -age-37 Father (Joe-age -38) Children: Tammy - age 17 Joey –age 15 The Giordano’s present as a very Italian-American, working class family. The men are portrayed as dominant and superiority he mother is expected to be submissive and is responsible for all the domestic chores of the household.
3. According to McGoldrick, what is the Family Life Cycle?
The emotional and intellectual stages you pass through from childhood to your retirement years as a member of a family are called the family life cycle. In each stage, you face challenges in your family life that cause you to develop or gain new skills. Developing these skills helps you work through the changes that nearly every family goes through. Not everyone passes through these stages smoothly. Situations such as severe illness, financial problems, or the death of a loved one can have an effect on how well you pass through the stages. Fortunately, if you miss skills in one stage, you can learn them in later stages. The stages of the family life cycle are: • Independence. • Coupling or marriage. • Parenting: Babies through adolescents. • Launching adult children. • Retirement or senior years. 4. Define the term subsystem. Please include the types commonly formed in families. Identify the subsystems in the Giordano family and the members who comprise them. The subsystems in a family are shaped by functions. Subsystems are embedded throughout the larger family system. Some of the most common subsystems are the couple subsystem, parentchild subsystem, and sibling subsystem; family systems might also include grandparentgrandchild, step-parent and child, half-siblings, ex-partners and other extended family subsystems. Family subsystems do not operate independently of the whole system. Their character and nature are shaped by the overall culture of the family system. Family behavior may be enacted through subsystems rather than the system as a whole. Interactions at the level of the subsystem may impact other family members and subsystems, as well-both directly and indirectly. The Giordano’s present as a very Italian-American, working class family. The men are portrayed as dominant and superiority he mother is expected to be submissive and is responsible for all the domestic chores of the household.
The mother purpose is to make her husband happy and rear the children. The Giordano’s rarely associate with anyone outside of their immediate nuclear family. They secretly fear that others will find them to be less than the perfect family they work so hard to portray.
Their limited contact with the outside world, it has been easier for them to keep Jo’s alcoholism a secret. Nobody has every confronted him on it. Joe has been an alcoholic since early 20’s, and there is a history of alcoholism in his family. 5. Define the term role. What roles do nuclear family members occupy in the Giordano family? The expected behavior patterns, socially defined, that accompany a person’s position in the family. There are both formal and informal roles in family system. The basic principles of homeostasis include predictable roles for family members to play out. Role Theory posits that human behavior is guided by expectations held both by the individual and by other people. The expectations correspond to different roles individuals perform or enact in their daily lives, such as secretary, father, or friend. The functionalist approach sees a role as the set of expectations that society places on an individual. By unspoken consensus, certain behaviors are deemed appropriate and others inappropriate. Individuals generally have and manage many roles. Roles consist of a set of rules or norms that function as plans or blueprints to guide behavior. Roles specify what goals should be pursued, what tasks must be accomplished, and what performances are required in a given scenario or situation. Role theory holds that a substantial proportion of observable, day-to-day social behavior is simply persons carrying out their roles, much as actors carry out their roles on the stage or ballplayers theirs on the field. Role theory is, in fact, predictive. It implies that if we have information about the role expectations for a specified position (e.g., sister, fireman, and prostitute), a significant portion of the behavior of the persons occupying that position can be predicted. Alliance is a primary relationship, union or connection with another person in the family. In healthy family alliances are formed in horizontal patters within generations, that is individuals will be emotionally closet to that persona in their generation.
• Casie and Joe’s parents were born in Italy and tend to hold to the traditions, rituals and rules of the old country. Cassie’s parents, Giovanni (age 60) and Rosa (age 59) only see their daughter and her family at family holiday dinners. • Cassie and her sister, Elisa (age 32), were close, but now have lost touch with each other • Joe’s parents Luigi (age 65) and Anna (age 62), live in Florida. • Joe’s father and his older brother, Ben (age 40) and both active alcoholics. • Tammy has always been a bright girl who follows the rules. She works hard at school and is helpful and dutiful at home. • Cassie and Joe were High School sweethearts.
• Joey (age 15) on the other hand can do no wrong. Roles in the Giordano family Joe: Alcoholic Person Cassie: Enabler Tammy: Scapegoat Joey: Lost child 6. Define the term family rules. Identify the spoken and unspoken rules in the household. The family can be conceptualized as a dynamic system that changes over time as membership changes, individuals change and develop, relationships change, and the family's context changes. A family system is interpretable only when its many multiple components are understood-the multiple components include the individual family members, the relationships between them, the family's relationships with its ecological context, the family's history (multigenerational and experience of events), and the host of internal and external forces for developmental change. Family rules can make raising children and running a household easier and smoother. However, many parents are stumped when it comes to how to make family rules and how to stick to them. There are many advantages to having established family rules. Rules let children know what is expected of them. They provide consistency and structure in the home which helps to create a safe and nurturing environment. Family rules about chores give everyone a role and responsibility in the functioning of the home and help members feel they are an important and contributing part of the family. Finally, family rules about communication can head off problems, such as a child asking permission from dad after mom had said no. Here are some general guidelines for establishing family rules: First parents or parent come up with a list of FEW family rules. These can include chores and manners and should be realistic and age appropriate Family rules should apply to EVERYONE in the household. Family rules should be in the positive rather than negative (“You may watch TV for one hour after completing homework” is better than “you cannot watch TV unless you completed your homework.”) Rewards and consequences should be linked to family rules. Rewards can include praises, allowances, special treats, and playing games with parents or going to the park. Rewards do not have to cost anything and in fact one of the best rewards is verbal praises. Family rules, rewards and consequences should be written and then be introduced to children in a family meeting.
Children can have an input in the rules, rewards and consequences; however parents have the final say. Family rules are a work in progress and can be changed or modified as necessary. Weekly family meetings are a good place to assess how the rules are working. Finally in order for parents to be successful at implementing family rules, parents MUST BE consistent. 7. Define the term boundaries. Please include clear definition of open system boundaries and closed system boundaries. Describe the type of system boundaries found in the Giordano family. Are they open or closed with the family system, and between the family system and the ecosystem? Please give clear examples in your analysis. Boundaries delineate between parts of a system and between systems. Boundaries represent the perimeter of the system. They told together the components and protect them from outside stresses. The Open system has permeable boundaries that permit interaction between component parts, and is thus likely to function in an orderly manner. The boundaries must be flexible, but not so poorly defined that the system loses unity. Closed system has impermeable boundaries, operating without interactions from outside of the system, and thus prone to disorder. Closed systems are disorganized and destined for eventual disorder. The addicted families often will function as closed systems. The Giordano family boundaries presented that they rarely associate with anyone outside of their immediate nuclear family. They secretly fear that others will find them to be less than the perfect family they work so hard to portray. In their mind, as long they loog good, her home is clean neat, and everyone is well fed, all is well. As a male child, Joey is allowed more freedom than Tammy is. The internal boundaries • Clear: permeable not rigid or diffuse • Enmeshed: A diffused sense of where one person ends and another begins. • Disengaged: Very severe and rigid cutoff between parental and sibling subsystems. Family Relationship/Ecosystem Issues: • The father is the breadwinner disciplinarian and always has the last word in discussion. • The mother is expected to be submissive, and responsible for all the domestic chores • Tammy has always been a bright girl who follows rules
• Joey, they don’t expect very much from him. His academic performance and grade have always been average or lower. He is very charming and has the talent of making everyone laugh at a school and at home. 8. Define the term homeostasis. Make sure to discuss the following in your answer: • How is homeostasis operating in this family? • The differences between the presenting and underlying problems. • Who is the identified client? Your thoughts on why? • What is the role of the many secrets kept by the family? Homeostasis: The self maintenance of a system in balance or equilibrium. The concept of homeostasis refers to the concept that the family system seeks to maintain its usual organization and functioning over time. The Homeostasis is the balancing behavior in a family system that acts to achieve a balance between the component parts: people and relationship. The roles: the expected behavior patterns, socially defined, that accompany a person’s position in the family. There are both formal and informal roles in family systems. The roles played by chemically dependent families: • Don’t talk • Don’t trust • Don’t feel Tammy is the identified client • Joe a long-term alcohol abuse and was laid off one year ago from his job as a supervisor at the factory he has worked for the past 19 years. Since the layoff, Joe has been drinking more heavily. When severely intoxicated he physically abuses Cassie in front of the children. • They secretly fear that others will find them to be less that the perfect family they work so hard to portray. The family has kept in secret the physical abuse a secret they have Joe’s heavy drinking. Brentwood, New York, June 28, 2010.
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