FAMILY LIFE CYCLE INTERACTIONS AND THE THEARPIST
Being a family therapist is a rewarding job, but it also comes with many challenges. Families are consistently going through many changes and the therapist and the clients may not be at the same point in the family life cycle; this can at times lead to conflicts that the therapist is unable to avoid. In order to be an effective therapist you must be able to perform self-assessments and strive to continuously build yours skills. As a therapist in training, I am able to identify my strengths, which would be working with families that have a member that is developmentally disabled; families that are going through a divorce; and intergenerational families. I am also aware of my vulnerabilities which are dealing with families and death; and maintaining objectivity. I concept that I view as both a strength and a vulnerability is dealing with alcohol problems and the family dynamics. I would address the challenges that arise as a family therapist by attending to my personal family issues; and attending therapy sessions.
Throughout this semester we have learned many concepts that will assist us in becoming effective family therapist. This class taught us how to construct a genogram, and introduced us to the various stages in the family life cycle. With introductions to the various stages we also were introduced to the different life stressors that could affect the dynamics of the family. The concepts that I view as my strengths are working with family members that have members that are developmentally disabled; counseling families that are going through the transition of a divorce; and intergenerational conflicts. The concepts that can pose a challenge for are dealing with death and a loss of a family member; and maintaining objectivity throughout the therapy sessions. A concept that I view as both a challenge and strength is working with families that have members with alcohol problems. I view this concept as both because I’m able to relate to some of the issues that could be arisen in session because of my own experiences, but the challenge would be me looking at the situation through my experiences and not through the experiences of that family that I am providing a service for.
Working with families that have a member that either has a mental health issue or is developmentally disabled brings about many family issues. A foremost issue that could lead to conflict is when there are other children in the household; that “normal” child may not feel that they are getting enough attention from the caregivers as well as assuming additional responsibilities. According to McGoldrick and Watson (2011), this can take a greater toll on a younger sibling that would have to take on a crossover leadership role (p.153). This concept is referring to younger siblings that have to assume the responsibility of the oldest sibling in taking care of the household as well as the oldest sibling with the disablitiy. This is a problem because the youngest sibling is unable to contribute to the family dynamics in the traditional way. In comparison older siblings of a disabled family member may view the additional responsibilities as a burden throughout their life. Many times they have made a promise to their parents that they will watch over their sibling and not doing so will cause the person to feel immense guilt. Caregivers may feel overwhelmed by the demands that come with having a person that depends on you for everything. One of the common and major issues families face is dealing with the mental health system. Current mental health facilities are underfunded and they are unable to provide the necessary supports, education, or alliance to family members, which ultimately leaves the family members...
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