Family Therapy Essay

2030 Words5 Pages

The author makes the assumption that the reader understands the core concepts in traditional family therapy and that whilst many writers influenced the development of family therapy, the major models were primarily structural family therapy, strategic family therapy, and Murray Bowen (Flaskas, 2010). Four powerful theories evolved to form the backbone of family therapy – general systems theory, cybernetics, communications theory and ecological theory. These were the major initial paradigms and this has been considered as first order family therapy where the therapist was viewed as pure observer and the understanding that a person’s behaviour is not determined only by one’s internal world, but acknowledges that the social context is a primary determinant. This shift in thinking has been illustrated as movement from autonomous self to relational self (Olsen et al, 1980; Rasheed et al, 2011). The transitional decade of the 1980’s heralded emergence of three sets of influences, namely eco-systemic epistemology, feminism and postmodern ideas. The Milan systemic, narrative and solution focussed frameworks are considered the most influential contemporary approaches in Australian family therapy today (Flaskas, 2011). This second order family therapy (a movement from relational self to narrative self) was influenced by constructivism, in that therapists were called upon to include their own personal or theoretical bias as part of the observation of the family and social constructivism that suggested reality is created through language in an ongoing and interactional process (Hoffman, 1985; Phipps & Foster, 2011; Rasheed et al, 2011). This resulted in family therapists becoming more interested in the active process of meaning making and be... ... middle of paper ... ...modern approach can be practically applied through the use of many tools taken from traditional and contemporary practice. In the reality of practice many therapists may move between a first order and second order approach. For example, the structural model can provide a framework for understanding the actual structure and roles of a family and the contemporary models can allow the therapist to understand the meaning and interpretation of that structure as impacted by cultural and historical factors (Rasheed et al, 2011). Another area where this practical link is evident is in the use of the genogram. Parker (2009), whilst practicing primarily as a feminist utilises the cultural genogram to unpack the history of power and privilege in a social context and McGoldrick et al (2008) demonstrate the use also of the genogram in the wide context of contemporary practice.

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