Family therapy approaches
In this discussion you will apply some of your understanding of family therapy to the following scenario:
Debbie is 18 years old and has come in to see a counselor because she knows that she desperately needs help. Debbie says that she sleeps 14 to 15 hours a day and would probably sleep the whole day if her mother did not wake her up to go to college. She says that she has lost interest in everything. Her parents want her to be a doctor, but she feels that this is not what she wants to be. Debbie prefers to be alone in her room. Her mother constantly nags her about her laziness and sarcastically cuts her down as a way to “motivate” her to do something with her life. Debbie has a very strained relationship with her father who is seldom at home because he is working two jobs. The future seems hopeless to Debbie, and she often thinks about committing suicide, though her parents do not know this. She has thought of cutting her wrist but has not been able to do so. She keeps hoping that she will feel better the next day. Her counselor has diagnosed Debbie with depression and is suggesting that in addition to Debbie’s individual counseling the family also begin counseling sessions.
Please respond to the following questions:
- Of the three approaches to family therapy mentioned in the lecture notes this week (Experiential, Structural and Strategic), which do you think Debbie and her family would benefit from most? Give a detailed rationale for your choice with supportive evidence from the case study.
- If you were the therapist working with Debbie and her parents, what would you assess as the main problem they are facing as a family? Be detailed in your response and include all three members in your assessment. Since a family system is a unit, all members affect each other.
- How would you specifically intervene using the family therapy approach mentioned in question 1? Suggest at least two methods or techniques from your chosen theory that you believe would help this family toward healthier interaction. Explain each of these methods or techniques in detail.
for the three approaches to family therapy mentioned in the lecture notes this week (Experiential, Structural and Strategic), which do you think Debbie and her family would benefit from most? Give a detailed rationale for your choice with supportive evidence from the case study.
The systems theory underlines family therapy but different theoretical orientations help explain family systems therapy. Each theoretical orientation has a different focus when working with families. Some of these orientations are:
- Experiential Family Counseling: This school of thought stresses the importance of all members striving to fulfill their own potential. When individual members are self-actualized, the family as a system will also be healthy. The tasks for the therapist in session is to allow members to be able to talk to each other honestly, give room for members to be independent, and to help create a positive environment for themselves. In session, therapists make the members aware of the choices they have in how they communicate with the other members of the family. The focus is on the “here and now” (Whitaker & Bymberry, 1988).
- Structural Family Therapy: Salvador Minuchin (1974, 1984) focused on the boundaries between family members by ensuring that boundaries were clear but also flexible (Goldenberg and Goldenberg, 2000). Altering boundaries is sometimes the key to improving relationships between family members.
- Strategic Family Counseling: This focuses on how members communicate with each other and what positions they take in power issues. The focus is on strategies for solving problems directly, and therapists do this by giving advice, teaching new skills, and providing homework assignments. Some strategies, such as paradoxical assignments, should be used with care.
Families face various challenges in their daily encounters. For example, when moving to a new place, or the children moving from one stage to another, the family experiences transition. To overcome these problems, counseling is needed. However, the counseling approach differs among families as different families have different structures and beliefs. The different approaches might also be brought about by the different cultural background (Beck, 1979).
Type of therapy approach that should be used on Debbie……………….