Applying Bowenian and Structural Theories

Topics: Family, Family therapy, Emotion Pages: 9 (1721 words) Published: September 19, 2014


Applying Bowenian and Structural Theories
Applying Bowenian & Structural Theories
For this assignment, two different theoretical approaches will be discussed, Bowenian family therapy and structural family therapy, and they will be used individually to construct a treatment plan to help clients reach their goals. Within each treatment plan discussed, short-term and long-term goals of therapy will be established and the family’s presenting problems will be defined. Two techniques that will be assigned to help them reach their therapeutic goals and any expected outcome from using those techniques will be discussed. The Presenting Problems

Judy, Adrian, and Pamela are a family of three that have all come into counseling seeking help (Psychotherapy.net, 2012). Judy and Adrian want to understand their thirty-year old daughter’s behavior and both parents are frustrated because they have been having a hard time communicating and getting along with their daughter Pamela (Psychotherapy.net 2014). Their chief complaint is Pam’s anger and disrespect. She ignores their attempts to communicate with them and she frequently displays anger towards her parents (Psychotherapy.net, 2014). Although Pamela appears to withdraw from her parents she is in fact fused, or undifferentiated, with her parents (Psychotherapy.net, 2012). Her poor differentiation indicates an emotional dependency on her parents (Psychotherapy.net, 2012; Gurman, 2008). There is a lot of emotional reactivity, Pam vents her frustration through verbal and physical displays of anger, Judy withdraws from Pamela, and Adrian reacts with pressure and anger (Psychotherapy.net, 2012) All of them are cutoff, which is when individuals distance themselves from their families (Gurman, 2008), This occurs when Pamela ignores her parent’s attempts at communicating with her, and by her emotional distance from Judy. Pamela uses “I don’t know” a lot when asked why she does things (Psychotherapy.net, 2012) so she either is unable to express her feelings her she is using that statement to cutoff emotionally from her family. There appears to be a demand/withdrawal pattern between Pamela and her parents. Pam is emotionally closer to her father Adrian than she is with her mother Judy (Psychotherapy.net, 2012). Judy believes that the reason may have a lot to do with her having to take Pamela to medical appointments for treatments when she was a child (Psychotherapy.net, 2012). There is a strained relationship between Pam and Judy and Adrian is constantly pushing Pam to have a better relationship with her mother (Psychotherapy.net, 2012). Applying Bowenian Family Therapy

Bowen family therapy, or as some like to refer to it as transgenerational family therapy, is an approach that looks at the family unit as an emotional system, that although delves into the family history, is primarily focused on the present (Gurman, 2008). This theory operates on the premise that there is an underlying anxiety that is present because of the stresses of living, and manifests in both the emotional and physical expressions of all living things (Gladding, 2010). When this theory is applied to the family in focus, these goals, techniques, and expected outcomes emerge. Short-term Goals

1. Develop rapport with the family and work on establishing trust and a therapeutic alliance with all family members. 2. Identify to what extent the family is anxious or differentiated. 3. Reduce anxiety for each individual to lessen emotional reactivity. Long-term Goals

1. Increase healthy communication between all members of the family. 2. Decrease Pamela’s dependency on her parents and increase her independence. 3. Help all members of the family to have healthy levels of differentiation. Two Interventions

Two interventions will be used to try and reach the family’s therapeutic goals. The two have been chosen based on the family’s presenting problems and the goals they have come into counseling...

References: Gehart, D. R., & Tuttle, A. R. (2003). Theory-based treatment planning for marriage and family therapists. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Gladding, S. T. (2010). Family therapy: History, theory, and practice (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson.
Gurman, A. S. (2008). Clinical handbook of couple therapy (4th ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Psychotherapy.net. (Producer). (2012). Bowenian family therapy [Motion picture]. [With Philip Guerin, MD]. United States: Psychotherapy.net.
Psychotherapy.net. (Producer). (2014). Structural family therapy [Motion picture]. [With Harry Aponte, LCSW]. United States: Psychotherapy.net.
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