The Family Crucible

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The Family Crucible
Christine Lovejoy
Activity 7
Dr. Brown

As I was reading The Family Crucible, I felt as if I was in the therapy session with Carl Whitaker. The book provides an excellent example of family structure, and how the system can quickly break-down. The book also provides a detailed account around family relationships, personal attitudes, values, and psychological existence that affect our everyday roles for example, the role of a spouse, friend, and family member (i.e. Sister, brother, parent). Carl Whitaker started off as a medical doctor OB/GYN to be exact. In 1938 Carl would take a job at a psychiatric hospital and develop a strong passion for the schizophrenic client and their family. He believed that the whole family system must be treated in order for symptoms to disappear (Napier, & Whitaker, 1978). Carl Whitaker stated “family therapy was like exploratory surgery” (Napier et al., 1978, p.19). Carl Whitaker’s approach to the Brice’s family was very interesting especially the co-therapist approach. It’s kind of like two heads are better than one. The two therapists would not start the session unless all members of the system were present. At first, I thought the two therapist approach might appear to the client as a type of ganging up. However, reading on, I was able to see that having the two therapists where one would get close and personal to the issue at hand, while the other would stay professional and evaluate the issue from an outsider point of view, was an excellent way of approaching the whole system, and not singling out one member. The one technique that I did not agree with was the scapegoating. I cannot imagine how a child or even an adult might feel if they are put in the spotlight, meaning the one member that caused all the problems (Napier, & Whitaker, 1978). I think that Whitaker’s approach is an excellent way of involving the family in the therapeutic process while teaching them the necessary skills to solve...
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