Family Therapy

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In family therapy sessions, therapists encounter unique dilemmas when only one partner enters into therapy because only one viewpoint of the problem is provided (American Psychological Association, 2002). This is what presents itself for us today. A husband has asked for help in protecting himself and his children from his wife’s outbursts. His family consists of his wife of 11 years, Angelina; his son, John, age nine; and his delicate daughter, Jackie, age seven. Since this client is reserved and uncomfortable within the therapy session as demonstrated by his folded arms and leaning back in his chair away from the therapist, the therapist will begin by using client-centered, therapy-based questions (Rogers, 1946). Post-modern family therapy will incorporate various styles of therapy depending on what a therapist determines is most helpful at any one point during the therapy process (Nichols, 2008). Combining client-centered and experiential therapies would be a logical pairing in this situation (Elliott & Freire, 2007). We will examine the initial interview.

The session starts by the therapist making introductions and gathering information as to problems, family structure, interests, and job responsibilities both within and outside of the family. These are all possible subjects to help open up discussion and ease the client into the therapy process (Rogers, 1946). Here, the therapist notes that the man is feeling out of his element, which he quickly admits to. The husband explains that he is used to dealing with issues himself, so that asking a third party for assistance is out of his comfort zone. The therapist seems to miss the man’s explanation for why he prefers to deal with issues on his own. After the therapi...

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...experiential perspectives on Rogers (1957). Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 44, 285–288. doi: 10.1037/0033-3204.44.3.285

Gurman, A. S., & Fraenkel, P. (2002, Summer). The history of couple therapy: A millennial review. Family Process, 41, 199-260. Retrieved from

Iveson, C. (2002). Solution-focused brief therapy. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 8, 149-157. Retrieved from

Mahrer, A. R. (2007). Introduction to a mythical family: How to do experiential psychotherapy. American Journal of Psychotherapy; 61, 231-239. Retrieved from

Nichols, M. P. (2008). Family therapy: Concepts and methods (9th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Rogers, C. R. (1946). Significant aspects of client-centered therapy [1]. American Psychologist, 1, 415-422. Retrieved from
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