Structural family therapy is a model of treatment based on systems theory that was developed by Salvador Minuchin. Structural family therapy features emphasis is mostly on structural change as the main goal of therapy; it pays close attention to the individual but also acknowledges the importance of family in the healing process of the individual.
Structural family therapy focuses on encouraging proactive healthy change within the family, with an emphasis on structure, subsystems, and boundaries. Family Structure is invisible set of rules that organize the ways family members relate to each other. Structure resists change. The therapist will essentially be a change agent to facilitate this reorganization (Minuchin, 1974). In addition to this, the therapist must be sensitive to the multicultural perspectives within a family during counseling. Including, cultural values, mores, beliefs, practices, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, level of acculturation, customs, mannerisms, special needs, behavioral expectations and expressions, and socioeconomic status. The families’ ability to access sociopolitical systems must also be taken into consideration. Too often those from impoverished families are not able to access sociopolitical systems, such as therapy, when in need. When considering the impoverished, Waldegrave (2009) stated:
Very few countries have been able to devise policy responses that adequately overcome the disadvantages single-parent households’ experience. They usually lack money and support to relieve their ongoing parental roles, and workplaces can be insensitive to the flexibility they require when children are sick or they are simply exhausted. They are often stigmatized by others for being single parents. When they arrive at counseling centers or other service providers, it is very important to recognize and address the contextual factors in their lives and avoid working on the symptoms of their distress out of context.
References: Brooks, J. (2008). The process of parenting. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill. Gladding, S. T. (2007). Family therapy history, theory, and practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.