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George and Vivian, both of whom are now dead, married and had Judith. Judith, who is now 61 years old, later married Randy, who is 66 years old, and the couple had a son named Marshall. Randy's former marriage with his wife produced an only child, Stephen, who is now Marshall's half-brother. Marshall, who is now 32 years old, married Cynthia, who is 30 years old, and the couple had three children: Sylvia, who is 11 years old, Jonathan, who is 7 years old, and Torrence, who is 5 years old. Julian who is currently deceased got married to Carmen who is currently 80 years old and the two gave birth to a son called William. William who is currently 58 years of age got married to Patricia who is 56 years old and they gave birth to a 35 year old Marissa, 30 year old Cynthia who is currently married to William and a 29 year old Sophia.
Judith and Randy who are Marshall’s parents gave Marshall much freedom during his teenage years. They would take a trip and leave Marshall at home although he would be under Stephen’s care, his half-brother. It shows that Marshall’s relationship with his parents was built on love and freedom because he would be given freedom to do whatever he wanted as long as it was not illegal. Allowing Stephen to take care of Marshall in their absence proved that as much as they gave him freedom at home, the parents were also protective of their son. Marshall and William have a strained relationship because William believes that Marshall never respected her daughter’s faith by making her pregnant.
William was also protective of his daughter Cynthia. On realizing that Cynthia was pregnant with Sylvia before marriage, he insisted that the father of the child who was Marshall to marry his daughter as soon as possible. He was trying to protect his daughter from shame being that their household was filled with traditional gender roles and such a behavior was not expected from the family. William also expressed love to her daughter by insisting that Cynthia should not move with her husband Marshall to the nearby small town. He never wanted his daughter to live far away from him because he wanted to continue protecting her despite the fact that she was already living with Marshall.
Patricia, who is 56 years old and Cynthia’s mother has a loving relationship with her mother-in-law who is 80 years of age. Despite the old age of her mother-in-law, she lives comfortable with her under one roof with her husband and even takes care of her. Sylvia has a disturbing relationship with her mother Cynthia whom she believes is unfair to her by giving her too much house chores but her brothers are not held to similar expectations. Cynthia and Marshall have a conflicting relationship regarding decision making that involves family matters. An example is when Cynthia prefer to take Sylvia to an all-girls Christian camp because she believes that her daughter might make silly mistakes during the summer when she stays at home. Marshall, on the other hand, believes that their daughter is responsible and mature enough to make good choices.
Cynthia’s family has a history of gender roles and Christian beliefs. Due to such a pattern, Cynthia is compelled to send her daughter to an all-girls Christian camp to prevent her daughter from backsliding when at home. Cynthia’s family upholds Christian values because the father is a pastor in a local church and the mother Patricia works with women’s ministry. Such Christian values have been transferred to Cynthia’s family. Marshall’s family argue a lot when they are under stress, this is because both Cynthia and Marshall believe that their arguments are valid.
Information from this family will assist me determine family patterns when handling my clients. I will be able to establish if the patterns are based on gender, secrets or age (Lundahl, 2014). Similarly, this information will assist me to determine the type of relationships that are visible in the family genogram of my clients. I will be challenged when my clients do not produce adequate information about their family background. I would like to find out whether the family managed to move to the nearby small town after Cynthia’s parents asked them to reconsider their decision.
When applying Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), I would engage the family in learning how to control anxiety and mange stress to minimize family arguments. I would teach them relaxation techniques like deep breathing and coping self-talks. I would engage the family in social activities and teach them how to be assertive by setting goals and learning problem solving methods. I would use Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) as a form of CBT to teach the family how to self-counsel and cope with destructive thoughts (Boyes, 2012). I would also use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as a type of CBT to show the family how to be committed amongst themselves and to accept their way of life.
Lundahl, B. (2014). Human Behavior in the Social Environment. Connecting core competencies, 1st Ed. University of Utah.
Boyes, A. (2012). Cognitive Behavioral Techniques that work, ANZ Family Therapy, 18(3): 25–36
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