Experiential Family Therapy

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Experiential Models
Philosophy
* Product of the existential-humanistic tradition
* Shift away from determinism to freedom
* Emphasis on the inherent goodness and growth potential of all humans * Focus not merely on symptom reduction but on fulfillment of individual family members View of problem foundation
* People’s natural tendency is toward self-actualization, but this can be interrupted by social pressures * The root cause of dysfunction in families is emotional suppression * Parents try and regulate emotions in order to curb certain behaviors * Children grow up with a disconnect from their own emotions * Children seek safety rather than satisfaction

* Goal: Help family members uncover their genuine emotions to form more authentic family relationships * Reduce defensiveness
Primary Characteristics
* Uncover deeper levels of experiencing
* Emphasize the here-and-now experience
* Have family members role play experiences so that they can see how they feel during the situation * Emotional confrontation
* Emphasize emotions
* Importance of self as therapist
* Active therapists
* The therapist is not objective
* De-emphasis on theory & assessment
* Value experience rather than theory
* Change happens based on experience, therefore one won’t follow any particular theory Three Experiential Models
* Symbolic-Experienctial Family Therapy (Whitaker)
* The Human Validation Process (Satir)
* Emotionally-Focused Couple Therapy (Greenberg and Johnson) Symbolic-Experiential Family Therapy
* Key figure: Carl Whitaker (from the Family Crucible!!)
* Thinking about allowing clients to open up to themselves * Self of the therapist
* Be able to be real and spontaneous and allow changes to come about through that * Relies heavily on one’s own personality
* Really believed that if the therapist...
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