Family Therapy

Topics: Family therapy, Psychotherapy, Family Pages: 12 (3782 words) Published: December 12, 2011
This purpose of this assignment is to provide an outline of the major concepts of six different systemic family therapy approaches including: adlerian family therapy, multigenerational therapy, the human validation process model, experiential symbolic family therapy, structural family therapy and strategic family therapy. A brief overview of each modality will be given and then an exploration of the value of working systemically with the case study of Stan will be made. In addition, two social construction therapies, including solution focused therapy and narrative therapy will be reviewed and then finally these therapies will also be applied to the case study of Stan.

A systemic perspective holds the assumption that an individual is best understood in the context of their family system. Family members interactions and behaviours are interconnected with others within the family and symptoms are often viewed as an expression of patterns within a family (Corey, 2005, p.424). In this section, six different systemic family therapies will be outlined and the case study of Stan will be discussed from a systemic perspective.

Adlerian Family Therapy:
Alfred Adler was an Austrian Doctor and Psychologist who was one of the first members of Freud’s Vienna Psychoanalytic Society in the early 1900’s (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2008, p.151). He later diverged from Freud’s theories, as he perceived man as a social being with a natural inclination toward other people. He maintained that to understand an individual we needed to understand them within the social context that they exist (Adler, 1929, pp.60-116). Adler was interested in a client’s social perspective and sense of community, birth order and family relationships and family constellations (ibid). Adler’s theories evolved from the concept of an inferiority complex which he believed motivates us to strive for success and work towards life goals that will see us overcome this complex (Corey 2005, pp. 94-95).

Adlerian Family Therapy is referred to as teleological. That is a belief that we are motivated by our future and drawn to our goals and life purpose, rather than driven by our instincts or past trauma as was believed by Freud (Boeree, 2006). The stages of Adlerian Family Therapy can be described as Relationship, Psychological Investigation, Interpretation and Reorientation (Sweeny 1989, pp.239-260). The basic aims of the therapist are establishing and maintaining a good relationship with the client, exploring the dynamics of a person by looking at their birth order characteristics and assessing their lifestyle, encouraging the development of insight and helping the family to set new goals that are aligned and encourage cooperation, self esteem and social interest (ibid).

Adler considered encouragement to be the essential element in working towards change with a client. He believed that people who feel encouraged are more likely to accept themselves and strive for improvement (Sweeny 1989, pp.239-260). Adlerian Family Therapists assume roles of educators, motivational investigators and collaborators. They will identify and discover the meaning of transactional patterns, set homework, teach new skills, promote effective parenting and build family pride with an emphasis on “changing the system and individual functioning within a new system” (Sherman & Dinkmeyer, 1987, p.39).

Multi-generational Family Therapy:
Murray Bowen was a psychoanalytically trained American psychiatrist who used a multigenerational approach when working with individuals (Brown, J. 2007, p.12). The major concept of his theory is Differentiation of Self, which refers to the degree to which a person can think, act and follow their own values without having their behaviour automatically driven by the emotional cues of others (Bowen, 1994, pp.476-477). Bowen maintained that levels of differentiation, patterns of behaviour and ways of relating to others are passed down...
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