Structural Family Therapy
My favorite model and the model that I feel the most comfortable using is structural family therapy. In the early 1990’s I worked at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center as a Family Service Counselor working with a research project that provided support and resources for families who have been affected by addiction. Even though we were not providing therapy, there is a requirement that we study structural family therapy and learn about Minuchin’s philosophy. Their study method was in the form of watching hours, and hours and more hours of movies featuring Minuchin and his colleagues practicing the model. At the time, I was sure that I would never use this model because of the “Chinese torturer” manner in which it was first presented, but now I know that it fits in perfectly with my style of treatment. The primary reason that model fits comfortably with my counseling context is that structural therapy seems to work best with the population that I service now and hope to work with after I complete my doctorate. I work with inner city families that are predominantly lower income( less than 30,000 per year household income). The style of interaction with my families tends to be concrete and action oriented rather than abstract and verbal. In fact it you talk too much, they tend to shut down and lose trust. This interaction fits into my identity as a therapist and my personal style. My personally is relaxed and down to earth, not too verbose, I set goals during the first two sessions and I try to pressure people that I work with. Structural Family therapy is systemic approach to family interventions that focus on identifying the underlying patterns that regulate the spaces between people in a relationship. (Yarhouse, & Sells, p.123).
Nichols refers to family structure as the framework for transactions that have meaning and order to a family structure.
Hopefully, by using this model I can help the family keep the patterns from
References: Minuchin, S. , Montalvo, B. Guerney, B. G., Rosman, B.L., & Schumer, F. (1967). Families of the slums. New York: Basic Books.
Nichols, M. P. (2010). Family Therapy, Concepts and Methods (9th ed.). Prentice Hall.
Yarhouse, M. A., & Sells, J. N. (2008). Family Therapies a Comprehensive Christian Appraisal. Madison, WI: InterVarsity Press.
Vetere, Arlene (2001). "Structural Family Therapy". Child Psychology & Psychiatry Review 6: 133–139.