Couples/Family T

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Amanda U.

COUPLES AND FAMILY THERAPYCouple therapy involves the treatment or two partners who are in a relationship together whereas family therapy describes the treatment of family members jointly Vary in content and focus are practiced in a variety of wayssome of which are extensions of major traditions in individual therapies ie BFT PFT and some of which are unique to family approachesstructural family therapy ieBoth couple and family therapy are primarily employed to improve family relationships but they may be utilized to help improve a difficulty or to respond to a challenge that an individual is facing DEFINING COUPLE AND FAMILY THERAPYChanging the family system change processFamily therapy may be defined as any psychotherapeutic endeavor that explicitly focuses on altering the interactions between or among family members and seeks to improve the functioning of the family as a unit or its subsystems andor the functioning of individual members of the familyFrom this vantage point any treatment that focuses on the system or aims to change the patterns between individuals is a family therapy Corollary family therapy can involve as few as one personJust having more than one person in the room does not necessarily make for a family therapy Ie Bowen oneperson family therapyWhom is present in sessions who is in the treatment room Such a definition offers less ambiguity about whether family therapy is being practiced More than on related person in therapy is a necessary and sufficient condition for the presence of family therapy Diverges considerably from the core understanding of SYSTEMS THEORY view of interrelated functioning vs counting heads fails to include some therapies ie Bowens that have been closely associated with the family systems model while including other treatments ie family meeting with psychiatrist about prescribing psychoactive meds that are not typically thought of in the family systems tradition Sometimes CFTs are grouped together and sometimes they are separated The work of CT is somewhat like yet somewhat different form FT Bc CT focuses on adults in committed relationships it includes a number of distinct features such as dealing with sexuality and he everpresent possibility that someone will choose to leave the relationship Yet CTs share many qualities with other close family relationships ie the importance of communication attachment and problem solving HISTORY OF CT AND FTITS VARIATIONSCT had its origin in direct efforts to mediate marital relationship difficulties thNot regarded as psychotherapy in firstof 20 century held in relatively low regard Psychoanalysis with emphasis on the relationship betweena single individual and therapist dominated The major vehicle for working with relationship difficulties during this time ay in individual psychotherapies where partners were thought to have the best prospect of resolving the issues lying behind their relationship difficulties To the extent that couples met in conjoint sessions the primary goals remained the elucidation of individual issues Conjoint therapies were largely considered adjunctive to the important work of individual therapy early variants of communication skills training WWII Emergence of experimental and radically different odes of service delivery including FTFirst developed in work with families who had members with severe mental illness ie SCZ conjoint FT leapt to prominence in the 1950s and 60sPioneersAckerman BoszermenyiNagy Bowen Framo Haley Jackson Minuchin Satir Whitaker Wynne shared a common belief in the core importance of the family system arguing against traditional individual oriented view of problem development and treatment 60s 80s innovators delineated specific theories of how family systems operate and strategies for intervention developed in relation to these theories first generation set of schools of treatmentCommon thread incorporation of aspects of general systems theory and cybernetics ie the theory that causality is best conceived as a circular process in which the behavior of individuals is seen as interdependent and subject to mutual influence The behavior of people who manifested problems identified patients was invariably seen as a reflection of underlying family processes The family was viewed as the principle locus of problems central in their development and therefore also the appropriate context for treatment Firstgeneration FTs were highly critical of traditional methods of mental health intervention in which individuals were seen alone separated from the natural context of their social systemIndividual therapy was seen as a nonsytemic method of intervention inefficient in focusDuring this time CTsubcategory of FTway of working with the couple subsystem in the style of FT Dialectic of ideas from a multitude of disciplines anthropology psychoanalysis hypnotherapy in which therpaisst suggest the opposite of what was sought to produce psychological reactance and a reverse effect Eriksoncommunications Ie deviant communication patterns engineering made for thinking outside the boxDistinct schools emerged some included range of concepts form individual therapy ie psychoanalytic experiential behavioral etc some schools rejected almost all aspects of individual models of treatment exclusively focusing on aspects of the social system such as family structure overcoming family homeostasis or intergenerational processesWizard judo freeing up the family from its patternsCritical voices of some aspects of the practicesFeminists highlighted the numerous male assumptions that were endemic tomost models in FT ie that fathers should hold te
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