Family therapy - What is it?

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Family Counseling: An Important Intervention

Family counseling is an important intervention. Several elements influence the intervention's success. Family therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on the improvement of relationships between couples or between couples and their children. It is dedicated to fostering transformation and development in the family setting. This paper is a reflection of a family therapy session between a therapist and the same family's children.

A Session with Mick, Anna, and their Child

A couple and their child participated in the interview. Mick and Anna are among the couples. The mother, father, and son are all expected to face unique challenges. The counsellor projects an efficient demeanor since he began by informing the clients about the concept of confidentiality. With regards to confidentiality, he determines that whatever is discussed during the session will remain in the session. In the interview, the father was more dominant than his wife and child. He speaks louder than all of them and also leads the entire conversation. The male child was hostile to the inquiry that was instituted during the session. The mother projected a fearful and timid demeanor during the intervention. Overall, the intervention was a success because all of the parties were able to express their opinions about the arising issues. It also offers resolution to many of the conflicts within the family setting. The session also involved several family therapy concepts. The counsellor engaged a solution-focused therapy framework in addressing the conflicts in the family.

Issues Analyzed Based on Solution-Focused Therapy

There were several issues that were analyzed during the session. Firstly, the issue of working hours in the family provides a contentious subject. Mick feels that he needs to keep working for long hours while Anna is of the opinion that the former’s long working hours are tearing the family apart. The next issue presented in the counselling session is provided by Jason’s inability to sleep. The behavior is a reflection of the neglect that Jason is forced to contend with given his parent’s long working hours. It is a manifestation of internal turmoil in the child. The next issue in the therapy session is provided by Anna’s pregnancy. Anna recently discovered that she was pregnant. Subsequently, she is torn between reducing her working hours and committing herself fully to her pregnancy. The issue has also been exacerbated by the conflict between her and her husband. Mark feels that he is doing his best to support her during the pregnancy and hence contends that he does not need to reduce his working hours.

Solution-Focused Therapy: Collective Interventions

Solution-focused therapy is inclined towards the determination of collective physiotherapeutic interventions. It is intended to involve all of the afflicted parties in the intervention processes (Lund, Zimmerman and Haddock 448). The therapeutic framework concentrates on the identification of solutions rather than the determination of problems. It is committed to the optimistic view. Therefore, the involvement of Mark, Anna, and Jason in the intervention facilitates the identification of collective measures that can be applied to mitigate conflict between the mother and the child (Nichols 72). It also enables the determination of measures that can be applied to address Jason’s internal conflicts. The counsellor’s recommendations were predicated on direct observation of the patients. His questions were inspired by the social constructionist thinking which furthered his understanding of the conflicts between the patients. He was not concerned with the history of the problem but rather the identification of solutions that will prevent the re-occurrence of Jason’s insomnia, Anna’s emotions towards Mark and lastly, Mark’s perspective towards Anna’s efforts.

Skills Used in the Intervention

There were several skills that were discernible during the intervention. One of the major skills that were applied during the counselling sessions comprised the listening skill. The counsellor was able to solicit the opinions of all the involved patients before offering solution suggestions to the identified challenges. Given the listening skills, the counsellor was able to identify the opinions, attitudes, and patient contention (Sherko, Sotiri, and Lika 460). Social and communication skills provided the next skill that was involved in the sessions. Good communication skills enabled the counsellor to create rapport with the target group (Harrigan, Oxman, and Rosenthal 106). Over time, the participants relaxed around the counsellor which was a mark of their comfortability around the subject individual. Boundary setting provided the most critical element in the intervention. Essentially, the counsellor was able to determine the limits of conversation with the identified individuals.

Application of Skills

Boundary setting was achieved during the inception of the session. To begin with, the counsellor indicated that whatever was discussed during the session would be kept as a secret between the participants (Zur 29). He further determined that he was committed to the determination of collective solution through discussion. Essentially, each member was expected to participate in the intervention. The counsellor indicated that he will ask a few questions and the participants would be expected to respond. Alternatively, listening skills were manifested when the counsellor allowed each of the participants to weigh in on the issues that were being discussed (Foley and Gentile 42). Principally, he would allow each member the time and freedom to express their view on given issues. For instance, with regards to the issue of Jason’s sleep, the counsellor directs the question to Jason. He indicates that that “your parents are concerned that you are having trouble sleeping.” Such directness allows Jason to respond to the issue. He also solicits Anna’s and Mark’s opinion on the issue.

Social and communication skills form an intrinsic part of the counsellor’s session. He was able to draw all of the participants in to the counselling sessions (Rinto et al. 82). Essentially, he applied both verbal and non-verbal communication skills to convey the conflict between the participants who were involved in the procedure. His sitting posture and movement of his hands convey the interest that he had in the comments that were given by the participants (Gendlin 117). Additionally, directly facing the patients provides a medium through which the counsellor was able to infer their attitudes towards the matters that were being discussed.

Suggestions for Improvement

To enhance the efficiency of the process, the therapist should have involved the use of a notepad and a pen to jot down the comments that had been made by the patients. On more than one occasion, the therapist seemed to deviate from the topic at a given point. Noting down the points enables the counsellor to remember the most important points (Gurman and Kniskern 57). Additionally, the therapist ought to have solicited the opinions of each patient separately before converging them in a single setting (Hill et al. 15). The initiative enables the identification of hidden conflicts among the family members. Lastly, allowing more time to each participant might have proved to be beneficial to the overall goal of the session.

Works Cited

Foley, G. N., & Gentile, J. P. “Nonverbal communication in Psychotherapy”. Psychiatry, no. 6, 2010, pp. 38-44.

Gendlin, E.T. “Subverbal communication and therapist expressivity: Trends in client-centered therapy with schizophrenics”. Journal of Existential Psychiatry, no. 14, 1963, pp. 105-120.

Gurman, A. S., & Kniskern, D. P. Handbook of Family Therapy. Routledge, 2014.

Harrigan, J. A., Oxman, T. E., & Rosenthal, R. “Rapport expressed through nonverbal behavior”. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, no. 9, 1985, pp. 95-110

Hill, C. E., Spiegel, S. B., Hoffman, Kivlighan Jr., D. M., & Gelso, C. J. “Therapist Expertise in Psychotherapy Revisited”. The Counselling Psychologist, 2017, pp. 1-47.

Lund, L. K., Zimmerman, T. S., & Haddock, S. A. “The theory, structure, and techniques for the inclusion of children in family therapy: a literature review”. Journal of Marital Family Therapy, no. 4, 2002, pp. 445-454.

Nichols, M. P. Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods. Pearson, 2012.

Rinto, R. Z., Ferreira, M. L., Oliveira, V. C., Franco, M. R., Adams, R., Maher, C. G., & Ferreira, P. H. “Patient-centred communication is associated with positive therapeutic alliance: a systematic review”. Journal of Physiotherapy, no. 2, 2012, pp. 77-87.

Sherko, E., Sotiri, E., & Lika, E. Therapeutic Communication. JAHR, no. 7, 2013, pp. 457-466.

Zur, O. (2004). To Cross or Not to Cross: Do boundaries in therapy protect or harm. Psychotherapy Bulletin, 39 (3), 27-32.

April 26, 2023

Psychology Health



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