Family TherapyThe family is a psychological unit, in which changes in one member affect other members and the family's functioning. Family therapy is geared toward helping individual members become aware of their defensive reactions and to communicate more openly with each other; it usually focuses on present problems and their practical solutions. Families are also self-regulating and tend toward homeostasis, though returning to it may bring about additional challenges. A family is a multi-generational network, that employs its cultural beliefs. Family therapy is inappropriate in circumstances where domestic/family violence, destructive behavior, or abuse between members is present.
Types of family therapy:
- Family Systems (Bowen)
- Experiential (Satir, Whitaker)
- Experiential therapists are interested in altering the overt and covert messages between family members that affect their body, mind and feelings in order to promote congruence and to validate each person’s inherent self-worth. Change and growth occurs through an existential encounter with a therapist who is intentionally “real” and authentic with clients without pretense
- Narrative (Epston, White)
- People use stories to make sense of their experience and to establish their identity as a social and political constructs based on local knowledge. Narrative therapists avoid marginalizing their clients by positioning themselves as a co-editor of their reality with the idea that “the person is not the problem, but the problem is the problem.”
- Strategic (Haley, Madanes)
- Symptoms of dysfunction are purposeful in maintaining homeostasis in the family hierarchy as it transitions through various stages in the family life cycle.
- Structural (Minuchin)
- Family problems arise from maladaptive boundaries and subsystems that are created within the overall family system of rules and rituals that governs their interactions.
- Solution-Focused (de Shazer)
- The inevitable onset of constant change leads to negative interpretations of the past and language that shapes the meaning of an individual’s situation, diminishing their hope and causing them to overlook their own strengths and resources.
- Psychodynamic (Scharff)
- By applying the strategies of Freudian psychoanalysis to the family system therapists can gain insight into the interlocking psychopathologies of the family members and seek to improve complementarity. Individuals choose relationships that attempt to heal insecure attachments from childhood. Negative patterns established by their parents (object) are projected onto their partners.
- Communications Model (Jackson, Haley)
- All people are born into a primary survival triad between themselves and their parents where they adopt survival stances to protect their self-worth from threats communicated by words and behaviors of their family members.
- Feminist (Bern)
- Complications from social and political disparity between genders are identified as underlying causes of conflict within a family system. Therapists are encouraged to be aware of these influences in order to avoid perpetuating hidden oppression, biases and cultural stereotypes and to model an egalitarian perspective of healthy family relationships.
See also Family Therapy on Wikipedia