Structural Family Therapy (SFT) addresses problems within a family by...
Charting the relationships between family members, or between subsets of family
Focus of SFT
Structure of the family, including its various substructures
An essential trait of SFT
The therapist actually enters, or "joins", with the family system as a catalyst for positive change
- An invisible set of functional demands that persistently organizes the interaction of the family- Important rules for a therapist to study include coalitions, boundaries, and power hierarchies between subsystems
What ability determines a family's level of functionality?
The ability to adapt to various stressors
What determines a family's level of ability to adapt to various stressors?
The clarity and appropriateness of its subsystem boundaries
What 2 elements do dysfunctional families exhibit?
1) Mixed subsystems - i.e. coalitions2) Improper power hierarchies- i.e. an older child being brought in to the parental subsystem to replace a physically or emotionally absent spouse
Minuchin believes that change must be ___ and taken in ___ steps for it to be useful and lasting.
- One-way mirror technique - To teach those family members on the viewing side of the mirror to move from being an enmeshed participant to being an evaluation observer- Therapist joins family member(s) in the viewing room and points out the patterns of transaction occurring on the other side of the mirror
Through its transactions, a family establishes a set of rules for its daily functioning, and these rules form its “structure.”
A system that operates through transactional patterns
What do repeated transactions establish?
Transactional patterns in the family
- Underpin the family system- Are patterns of how, when, and with whom to relate
A family (or a subsystem) that is overly close
A family (or subsystem) that is too distant from one another
- AKA Conflict detour mechanism- A structure where one family member gets torn between two others- i.e. parents placing a child between them while fighting
An intervention that a therapist uses early in treatment to understand the family structure
3 main areas of focus for a SFT therapist
1) The family2) The presenting problem3) The process of change
The SFT therapist is viewed as...
An “agent of change”
How is the role of the SFT therapist paradoxical?
The therapist must find the right equation of accommodation and challenge in relating with the family
- A strategy in which the therapist reinforces appropriate boundaries and diffuses inappropriate boundaries by modifying transactional patterns- i.e. Therapist may sit between an intrusive mother and her child so that the mother will have difficulty speaking for the child
A general term referring to the adjustments a therapist may make to a family in order to achieve a therapeutic alliance with the family
Creating a workable reality
- A strategy in which the therapist attends to certain family issues, ignores others, and reframes still others to emphasize a family situation that has a solution- i.e. A presenting problem of childhood schizophrenia may be de-emphasized, and the need for parental cooperation and control in the family may be emphasized
- The acting out of dysfunctional or functional transactional patterns within the family therapy session, encouraged by the therapist- The therapist is then able to intervene in the dysfunctional process by increasing its intensity, indicating alternative transactions, marking boundaries, and so forth
- The therapist’s focusing on events that are dissimilar in content, but nevertheless are structurally equivalent- i.e. whether an anorectic girl says she doesn’t know something, complains about the clothes she wears, or won’t eat, the therapist can reframe such statements as disrespect for her parents’ authority
Any therapeutic intervention that confronts and challenges a family and facilitates structural changes
Any therapeutic intervention that supports one member of the family, thus interfering with the homeostasis of the family system
An accommodating maneuver in which the therapist establishes rapport with family members and temporarily becomes part of the family system
The paralleling of a family’s mood or behavior, which solidifies a therapeutic alliance
- The therapist actually enters, or "joins", with the family system as a catalyst for positive change- Accommodation (i.e. joining)- Family map/diagram (early intervention)- Mimesis - Subsystem isolation - Boundary marking - Creating a workable reality - Enactment - Intervening isomorphically - Restructuring - Unbalancing
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