In this paper the theories of multigenerational family therapy and structural family therapy are applied to the Melendez family. Beginning with the biography of the Hispanic family, assessment of the strengths and vulnerabilities of the family, stage of the family life cycle, cultural elements that impact the family and explanation of the types and qualities of relationships depicted in the Melendez genogram and ecomap the foundation for therapeutic goals and interventions are set. Goals and interventions based on the multigenerational family therapy theory are theoretically applied with the goal of the family to recognize emotional patterns to decrease anxiety. The Structural Theory application will focus on the presenting problem and the nature of the family. The Hispanic family assessment will conclude with a personal and professional critical reflection of Latino multicultural practice application. Keywords: Hispanic, Multigenerational Family Therapy, Structural Family Therapy, Bowen, Minuchin The Hispanic culture is strong in its values, traditions with a unique identity. Selyna Melendez shared with me the details and insight to her family that allowed me to gain a perspective into her cultural identity and family structure. With the Multigenerational therapy model in mind my approach “operates on the premise that a family can best be understood when analyzed from at least a three generation perspective” (Bitter, 2009). Gathering information about Selyna’s family background is essential to forming ideas about the family’s emotional process, which concurrently will provide information to the nuclear family’s systematic problems (Brown, 1999). Selyna is a thirty eight year old woman who culturally identifies herself as Mexican American. Her mother and father Manuel and Maria Armendariz have been married for fifty years. Selyna is the youngest of four children. Selyna has two older brothers Santiago and Sergio and an older sister Stephanie. Selyna is the aunt of two nieces and three nephews. Selyna has a large extended family with three uncles and three aunts on her father’s side and five uncles and one aunt from her mother’s side. Selyna has numerous cousins that she considers part of her nuclear family. Selyna describes her family as being tight knit although they have their own set of problems. The basic Hispanic family unit is larger than the typical American family unit and includes aunts, uncles, cousins and godparents all of whom expect to visit (Galanti, 2003). Listening to Selyna I hear her description of her family encompass the definition of “familismo”, or strong connection and sense of loyalty and obedience (Seipel, Way, 2009). Selyna’s father was a car salesman and her mother was a stay at home Mom during her childhood. Selyna was raised in the Catholic Church and her mother is the spiritual leader of the family. Selyna’s family was a poor working class family. Her parents were first generation citizens and Spanish was often spoken in the home. “The multigenerational genogram is a useful tool for recording information, emotional process of the particular family, including: patterns of regulating closeness and distance, how anxiety is dealt with in the system, what triangles get activated, the degree of adaptability to changes and stressful events, and any signs of emotional cut-off. Information collected is acknowledged to be extremely subjective, especially when extended family are discussed; but stories about past generations are viewed as useful clues to the roles people occupy in triangles and the tensions that remain unresolved from their families of origin” (Brown, 1999). The emotional relationships of the family depicted on the genogram are a result of both the strength of her family and family issues. Selyna’s father Manuel is an alcoholic. Manuel’s addiction to alcohol has played its heaviest toll on Maria and Manuel’s relationship. Selyna recognizes that her mother and father have a...
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Appendix One Interview Questions:
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