Thursday, May 31, 2007

History of the marital and family therapy field

Emergence of focus on making changes in total life systems.Focus on the relationships rather than on the elements themselves.
Began due to dramatic change in the form, composition, and structure of the American family (single parents, blended families, dual-career families).
Because interconnectedness exists among family members, actions of the members affect the health or dysfunctional of each individual and family as a whole.
Organism= form of life composed of mutually dependent paths and processes standing in mutual interaction.
Family stabilizes and changes by using negative feedback loops.
Allow family expansion and contraction within the limits of a range of behaviors.
Focuses on exploring interactive dynamics.

Research showed that various forms of family therapy worked at least as strong as other forms of psychotherapy.
National survey of family therapists and their clients found that over 97% of clients were satisfied with service they received.

Original Inhibitors of Family TherapyMyth of rugged individualism
Healthy people were seen as adequate to handle their own problems
Perception handed down from Puritans that those who prospered were ordained by God.
To admit one had difficulties was to admit that one was not among the elect.
Historically people confided in clergy, lawyers, doctors rather than mental health professionalism because they knew the families living in the small communities.
Theoretical emphasis was on psychoanalytic and behavioral psychology.

Reasons for Family TherapyChange in thought of linear causality in which A causes B, used in individual therapy, to circular causality, used in systemic therapy in which A and B influence each other.
Family therapy does not depend on role plays or simulations.
Emphasis cuts through to the reality of a situation more quickly and efficiently.
Members of a family are given the same message simultaneously.
Eliminates secrets.
Increases openness and communication.
Takes less time than individual counseling.
Usually no more than 10 sessions.
Approach of seeing the forest instead of the trees.
Larger scope that examines problematic behavior allows therapists to find more unique ways to address them.
Growth in number of women in colleges and demand for courses in family life education.
Work of county home extension agents in 1920.
Agents began working with families educationally.
Helped them better understand the dynamics f family situations.