An Introduction to Family Therapy

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See also double bind; family nexus. By the mids a number of distinct schools of family therapy had emerged. From those groups that were most strongly influenced by cybernetics and systems theory, there came MRI Brief Therapy, and slightly later, strategic therapy, Salvador Minuchin's Structural Family Therapy and the Milan systems model.

Partly in reaction to some aspects of these systemic models, came the experiential approaches of Virginia Satir and Carl Whitaker, which downplayed theoretical constructs, and emphasized subjective experience and unexpressed feelings including the subconscious , authentic communication, spontaneity, creativity, total therapist engagement, and often included the extended family. Psychodynamic family therapy - which, more than any other school of family therapy, deals directly with individual psychology and the unconscious in the context of current relationships - continued to develop.

Multiple-family group therapy, a precursor of psychoeducational family intervention, emerged, in part, as a pragmatic alternative form of intervention - especially as an adjunct to the treatment of serious mental disorders with a significant biological basis, such as schizophrenia - and represented something of a conceptual challenge to some of the "systemic" and thus potentially "family-blaming" paradigms of pathogenesis that were implicit in many of the dominant models of family therapy.

The lates and earlys saw the development of network therapy which bears some resemblance to traditional practices such as Ho'oponopono by Ross Speck and Carolyn Attneave, and the emergence of behavioural marital therapy renamed behavioural couples therapy in the s; see also relationship counselling and behavioural family therapy as models in their own right. There were the beginnings of a general softening of the strict demarcations between schools, with moves toward rapprochement, integration, and eclecticism — although there was, nevertheless, some hardening of positions within some schools.

These trends were reflected in and influenced by lively debates within the field and critiques from various sources, including feminism and post-modernism, that reflected in part the cultural and political tenor of the times, and which foreshadowed the emergence in the s and s of the various "post-systems" constructivist and social constructionist approaches.

While there was still debate within the field about whether, or to what degree, the systemic-constructivist and medical-biological paradigms were necessarily antithetical to each other see also Anti-psychiatry; Biopsychosocial model , there was a growing willingness and tendency on the part of family therapists to work in multi-modal clinical partnerships with other members of the helping and medical professions.

Using mass media techniques to increase public understanding of issues in family therapy has added a new frontier for amplification in the future. The number of sessions depends on the situation, but the average is sessions. A family therapist usually meets several members of the family at the same time. This has the advantage of making differences between the ways family members perceive mutual relations as well as interaction patterns in the session apparent both for the therapist and the family.

These patterns frequently mirror habitual interaction patterns at home, even though the therapist is now incorporated into the family system. Therapy interventions usually focus on relationship patterns rather than on analyzing impulses of the unconscious mind or early childhood trauma of individuals as a Freudian therapist would do - although some schools of family therapy, for example psychodynamic and intergenerational, do consider such individual and historical factors thus embracing both linear and circular causation and they may use instruments such as the genogram to help to elucidate the patterns of relationship across generations.

The distinctive feature of family therapy is its perspective and analytical framework rather than the number of people present at a therapy session. Specifically, family therapists are relational therapists: They are generally more interested in what goes on between individuals rather than within one or more individuals, although some family therapists—in particular those who identify as psychodynamic, object relations, intergenerational, EFT, or experiential family therapists—tend to be as interested in individuals as in the systems those individuals and their relationships constitute.

Depending on the conflicts at issue and the progress of therapy to date, a therapist may focus on analyzing specific previous instances of conflict, as by reviewing a past incident and suggesting alternative ways family members might have responded to one another during it, or instead proceed directly to addressing the sources of conflict at a more abstract level, as by pointing out patterns of interaction that the family might have not noticed.

Some families may perceive cause-effect analyses as attempts to allocate blame to one or more individuals, with the effect that for many families a focus on causation is of little or no clinical utility. In the United Kingdom, family therapists are usually psychologists, nurses, psychotherapists, social workers, or counsellors who have done further training in family therapy, either a diploma or an M.

However, in the United States there is a specific degree and license as a Marriage and Family therapist. Prior to in California, counsellors who specialized in this area were called Marriage, Family and Child Counsellors. Today, they are known as Marriage and Family Therapists MFT , and work variously in private practice, in clinical settings such as hospitals, institutions, or counselling organizations. A master's degree is required to work as an MFT in some American states. Most commonly, MFTs will first earn a M. After graduation, prospective MFTs work as interns under the supervision of a licensed professional and are referred to as an MFTi.

For accredited programs, click here. Requirements vary, but in most states about hours of supervised work as an intern are needed to sit for a licensing exam. MFTs must be licensed by the state to practice. Only after completing their education and internship and passing the state licensing exam can a person call themselves a Marital and Family Therapist and work unsupervised.

License restrictions can vary considerably from state to state. Contact information about licensing boards in the United States are provided by the Association of Marital and Family Regulatory Boards. Jackson systems theory Sue Johnson Emotionally focused therapy, attachment theory Bradford Keeney cybernetics, resource focused therapy Walter Kempler Gestalt psychology Bernard Luskin media psychology, Public understanding of issues through media Cloe Madanes strategic therapy Salvador Minuchin structural Braulio Montalvo structural [citation needed] Virginia Satir communications, experiential, conjoint and co-therapy Mara Selvini Palazzoli Milan systems Ross Speck network therapy Robin Skynner Group Analysis Paul Watzlawick Brief therapy, systems theory John Weakland Brief therapy, strategic therapy, systems theory Carl Whitaker Family systems, experiential, co-therapy Michael White narrative therapy Lyman Wynne Schizophrenia, pseudomutuality.

Salvador Minuchin Born and raised in Argentina, Salvador Minuchin began his career as a family therapist in the early 's when he discovered two patterns common to troubled families: some are "enmeshed," chaotic and tightly interconnected, while others are "disengaged," isolated and seemingly unrelated. When Minuchin first burst onto the scene, his immediate impact was due to his dazzling clinical artistry. This compelling man with the elegant Latin accent would provoke, seduce, bully, or bewilder families into changing -- as the situation required -- setting a standard against which other therapists still judge their best work.

But even Minuchin's legendary dramatic flair didn't have the same galvanizing impact as his structural theory of families. In his classic text, Families and Family Therapy Minuchin, Minuchin taught family therapists to see what they were looking at. Through the lens of structural family theory, previously puzzling interactions suddenly swam into focus.

Where others saw only chaos and cruelty, Minuchin helped us understand that families are structured in "subsystems" with "boundaries," their members shadowing to steps they do not see.

Family Therapy

In Minuchin formed a productive professional relationship with Jay Haley, who was then in Palo Alto. In Munuchin became the director of the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic, which eventually became the world's leading center for family therapy and training. At the Philadelphia Clinic, Haley and Minuchin developed a training program for members of the local black community as paraprofessional family therapists in an effort to more effectively related to the urban blacks and Latinos in the surrounding community.

In , Minuchin, Haley, Braulio Montalvo, and Bernice Rosman developed a highly successful family therapy training program that emphasized hands-on experience, on-line supervision, and the use of videotapes to learn and apply the techniques of structural family therapy. Minuchin stepped down as director of the Phildelphia Clinic in to pursue his interest in treating families with psychosomatic illnesses and to continue writing some of the most influential books in the field of family therapy.

In , Minuchin established Family Studies, Inc. Minuchin retired in and currently lives with his wife Patricia in Boston. Jay Haley A brilliant strategist and devastating critic, Jay Haley was a dominating figure in developing the Palo Alto Group's communcations model and stategic family therapy, which became popular in the 's. He studied under three of the most influential pioneers in the evolution of family therapy - Gregory Bateson, Milton Erickson, and Salvador Minuchin, and combined ideas from each of these innovative thinkers to form his own unique brand of family therapy.

In Haley was studying for a master's degree in communication at Stanford University when Gregory Bateson invited him to work on the schizophrenia project. Haley met with patients and their families to observe the communicative style of schizophrenics in a natural environment. This work had an enormous impact in shaping the development of family therapy. Haley developed his therapeutic skills under the supervision of master hypnotist Milton Erickson from to Haley developed a brief therapy model which focused on the context and possible function of the patient's symptoms and used directives to instruct patients to act in ways that were counterproductive to their maladaptive behavior.

Haley believed that it was far more important to get patients to actively do something about their problems rather than help them to understand why they had these problems. Haley was instumental in bridging the gap between strategic and structural approaches to family therapy by looking byond simple dyadic relationships and exploring his interest in trangular, intergenerationsl relationships, or "perverse triangles. Accordingly, Haley thought that the healing aspect of the patient-therapist relationship involved getting patients to take responsibility for their actions and to take a stand in the therapeutic relationship, a process he called "therapeutic paradox.

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What is Family Therapy? | EFTA

At the Philadelphia Clinic, Haley pursued his interests in training and supervision in family therapy and was the director of family therapy research for ten years. He was also an active clinical member of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Psychiatry. In , Haley moved to Washington D.

Haley retired in and currently lives in La Jolla, California. Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods.

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Bowen's therapy is an outgrowth of psychoanalytic theory and offers the most comprehensive view of human behavior and problems of any approach to family therapy. The core goal underlying the Bowenian model is differentiation of self, namely, the ability to remain oneself in the face of group influences, especially the intense influence of family life. The Bowenian model also considers the thoughts and feelings of each family member as well as the larger contextual network of family relationships that shapes the lie of the family. Bowen grew up in Waverly, Tennessee, the oldest child of a large cohesive family.

After graduating from medical school and serving five years in the military, Bowen pursued a career in psychiatry. He began studying schizophrenia and his strong background in psychoanalytic training led him to expand his studies from individual patients to the relationship patterns between mother and child. From to , Bowen studied the symbiotic relationships of mothers and their schizophrenic children at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas.

Here he developed the concepts of anxious and functional attachment to describe interactional patterns in the mother-child relationship. In his first year at NIMH, Bowen provided separate therapists for each individual member of a family, but soon discovered that this approach fractionated families instead of bringing them together. As a result, Bowen decided to treat the entire family as a unit, and became one of the founders of family therapy.

In , Bowen began a thirty-one year career at Georgetown University's Department of Psychiatry where he refined his model of family therapy and trained numerous students, including Phil Guerin, Michael Kerr, Betty Carter, and Monica McGoldrick, and gained international recognition for his leadership in the field of family therapy.