Structural Family Therapy

Topics: Family therapy, Family, Psychotherapy Pages: 16 (5665 words) Published: February 16, 2014

Family Therapy Research Paper

COUN 601

Structural Family Therapy


This work explores the model of family counseling and therapy known as “Structural Family Therapy”. In this study SFT is explored in its original form as well as in a form that is presently being used and has been effectively used specifically in SFT initiatives in families that are working with the issue of acculturation. The studies of Minuchin and Haley are focused upon and the work of Todd (2006) is also taken into consideration. This work explores how SFT might effectively be applied by a minister of the neighborhood organization PACT and how the Christian principles might be effectively and successfully applied in the SFT therapy.



The focus of this work is the method termed: “Structural Family Therapy”.

Salvador Minuchin pioneered the approach of “Structural Family Therapy” (SFT) It is related throughout the content of the various works of Salvador Minuchin is that the focus within the framework of structural family therapy is applied directly upon the interactions that go on within the family and that this knowledge is used in gaining a comprehension of the precise structure of the family and the family being an organizational type structure. The symptoms displayed within the family are the direct result or “by product of structural failing”. (Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy Family System Therapy , nd) 1 The changes that must occur within the organization of the family structure are of the nature that true reorganization of the structure must be accomplished through resolution of conflicts and correction in interaction within the family organizational structure. (Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy Family System Therapy, nd) According to Thomas C. Todd, Ph.D. at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in the work entitled: "Primer of Structural Family Therapy" that in the years of teaching and supervising he has spent in family therapy that he became "convinced that a concise introduction to structural family therapy (SFT) would be valuable." This work of Todd's is a wonderful read and conveys clearly that the therapist is actually "an orchestra leader or stage director" but conveys just as clearly that it's is not all ad' lib but contains specific systematic approaches within it as well. “Patterns” within communication refers to the repeated types of communication and interaction that are noted as being repetitive in nature or that is repeated over again and again. The therapist also must watch for patterns in non-verbal behavior such as cross arms, crossing of legs and even the repetitive twitching of the foot are all signs of repetitive communication and interaction. (Todd, 2006) In relation to verbal communication Todd (2006) states that "it is important to note who talks to whom, whether transaction are completed or interrupted, whether communications typically take place between two members (a dyad) or includes a triad or even agreement or disagreement between particular family members. Shifts in behavior are also noted related to the pattern in communication. Todd (2006; paraphrased) Todd further provides the example of the child who exhibits problem behavior when the parents disagree. Another important factor pointed out by Todd (2006) is the element of alliances and coalitions which exist between family members. Although these coalitions may be positive in nature it is still an alliance or coalition of two or more family members that is effectively 'against' another family member. According to Todd (2006) these types of coalitions are considered to be pathological and important for focus within therapy. The resolution of conflicts is another area that must be in focus...

Bibliography: Johnson, E.L. (2007). Foundations for Soul Care: A Christian Psychology Proposal. IVP Academic.
Nelson, J.M. (2009). Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality. Springer.
Source: Robbins (2000)
Source: Robbins (2000)
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