Friday, August 7, 2015

Family Therapy in the 21st Century

Social Factors

Multiculturalism
o It is important to respect the families from other cultures that have their own valid ways of doing things and our journals and professional organizations are making an effort to become more diverse and inclusive.
o Important to ask clients about their cultural background and their level of acculturation.

Race
o For many years African-American families were ignored by family therapists.
o In the 1990s the issues were brought into the open and therapists adapted to understanding the reluctance of these families to engage in treatment with a white therapist.
o Therapists need to recognize the family strengths and draw on those.
o It is important for counselors to examine their own attitudes and beliefs about race.

Classism
o This population might have a negative self-image that can be an obstacle in therapy.
o Therapists need to educate themselves on what it means to be poor in the US.
o Therapists can help their clients appreciate the burdens they live with are not all of their own making.

Gay and Lesbian Rights
o Despite gains in legal issues and tolerance, gays and lesbians continue to face discrimination.
o Therapists should get as much information about the individual’s identity formation and relationship issues.
o Seek supervision when not fully qualified.

Spirituality
o In the 1990s spirituality and religion became solutions to feelings of Isolation, it became more prevalent in family therapy and literature.
o Most therapists never ask about a client’s spirituality. Therapists are starting to believe that asking these questions is crucial.

Home based services
o Target the family as the primary recipient in mental health care.
o Focus on expanding the network of a family’s resources than on repairing family dysfunction.
o Main emphasis is on building relationships between the family and various community resources.
o Four main elements:
■ Family support services
■ Therapeutic intervention
■ Case Management
■ Crisis intervention
o Visiting a family at home gives the therapist an opportunity to show interest in the things that define their identity.