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Retelling the Story: Couple and Family Counseling in the Early Years (Chapter 2)

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Presentation on theme: "Retelling the Story: Couple and Family Counseling in the Early Years (Chapter 2)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Retelling the Story: Couple and Family Counseling in the Early Years (Chapter 2)

2 Objectives for This Chapter Understand the multiple contexts that have shaped couple and family counseling. Distinguish between a story and the way it’s been told. Analyze family approaches in terms of their goals and assumptions. Appreciate the variety of early family counseling efforts. Recognize names, places, and ideas that dominated marriage and family therapy during its growth years.

3 Introduction Family counselors are storytellers Stories have powerful meanings The story of couple and family counseling has been told in many ways Rather than looking back for a sense of direction, this book attempts to tell the story looking forward

4 The context of this telling The social and intellectual contexts that have shaped this story

5 Postmodernism For the moment, we’re applying the Intellectual vs the Historical sense Contrast with modernism Rejecting assumptions that increased knowledge will solve all human problems Rejecting ideals of objectivism and certainty

6 Cultural and political awareness Foucault -- the hidden control element in professional discourses Negative views of differences (the Other) Professionals must challenge hegemony and privilege on behalf of those who are oppressed

7 Social constructionism and narrative People construct (create) their experiences through their narratives This process is social and interactive Frequently repeated stories tend to shape behavior and perception

8 The dominant MFT story The popular story of family therapy seems to include three narrative themes

9 The healer Healers are selfless, caring, and powerful As healers, family therapists take pride in their successful “cures” Early family therapists gained credibility by working with challenging populations Delinquency, schizophrenia, and anorexia nervosa were early targets for family intervention

10 The hero Heroes struggle against more powerful enemies, refusing to accept defeat Well-known family therapists such as Haley and Minuchin succeeded despite unconventional backgrounds Family therapists struggled against the traditional mental health system

11 The discoverer Discoverers chart new territories, driven by vision and courage Family therapists pioneered radically different methods of helping and reported new discoveries about human life The thrill of discovery began to fade as family intervention became more mainstream

12 An alternative story, Phase I: The discovery years A more complex, subtle story describes a deep history and many contributors

13 Gradual, incremental change Industrialization in the 19 th Century disrupted social networks Nuclear families moved to urban areas and experienced new kinds of problems Attempts to alleviate suffering focused on: – Social reform – Individual emotions and behavior By mid-20 th Century, new ideas were welcome

14 Professional groups and collaboration Social workers Home economists and family sociologists Mental hospitals Child guidance clinics Marriage counselors

15 The new family therapy movement Organizations and journals Theoretical underpinnings: Diverse fields with unique perspectives, e.g. Communications, Developmental Psychology, Anthropology

16 Early models—the leading citizens in a frontier town Ackerman—lighthearted, playful but challenging Satir—linguistically sophisticated, honest and direct Bell—indirect, educational

17 An alternative story, Phase II: The growth years ( ), A search for consensus From a scattered group with diverse ideas, power was consolidated in a few centers

18 Social change U.S. society was divided between the World War II generation and youth who seemed dedicated to tearing down social structures Oral contraceptives, sexual revolution Mental health systems flourished

19 Systems fervor General system theory (GST) Cybernetics

20 Quinn and Davidson survey

21 Advanced Models: Captains of Industry in the 1970s Table 2.4, Dominant Perspectives: – Strategic variations – Structural – Experiential – Behavioral – Intergenerational

22 Strategic variations--sites Mental Research Institute (MRI) Haley-Madanes Institute Institute for Family Studies (Milan) Ackerman Institute Houston-Galveston Institute

23 Strategic variations--assumptions Systems resist change Communication includes multiple levels, which leads to confusion Problems result from attempts to solve other problems Every symptom is part of some kind of triangle

24 Strategic variations--triadic model

25 Structural--key location Philadelphia Child Guidance Center (Minuchin, Aponte, many others)

26 Structural--assumptions Systems need to change over time Structural imbalances and coalitions create problems Internal and external system boundaries are important

27 Experiential--locations Big Sur (Satir) University of Wisconsin (Whitaker) Accademia di Psicotherapia della Familiglia (Andolfi)

28 Experiential--assumptions Interactions are shaped by symbolic traces of other experiences People need validation Problems result from a failure to connect with self and others

29 Experiential--Satir’s roles

30 Behavioral--locations University of Oregon (research team) University of Washington (research team)

31 Behavioral--assumptions Problems result from learning Negative behavior that is reinforced is likely to continue Punishment leads to a coercive cycle in families

32 Intergenerational--locations Georgetown Family Center (Bowen) Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (Boszormenyi-Nagy)

33 Intergenerational--assumptions Problems are passed on from one generation to the next Families are emotional systems Symptoms result from emotional imbalances in families

34 Freud’s Genogram (one version)


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