Structural Versus Strategic Family Therapies


Structural Versus Strategic Family Therapies

Although structural therapy and strategic therapy are both used in family therapy, these therapeutic approaches have many differences in theory and application. As you assess families and develop treatment plans, you must consider these differences and their potential impact on clients. For this Assignment, as you compare structural and strategic family therapy, consider which therapeutic approach you might use with your own client families.

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                                        Learning Objectives

Students will:

· Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy

· Create structural family maps (Refer to Gerlach (2015) in this week’s Learning  

   Resources for guidance on creating a structural family map.) or LOOK AT THE 

   ATTACHED ONE.

· Justify recommendations for family therapy Structural Versus Strategic Family Therapies

                                                     The Assignment

In a 2- to 3-page paper, address the following:

· Summarize the key points of both structural family therapy and strategic family

therapy.

· Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy, noting the

strengths and weaknesses of each.

· Provide an example of a family in your practicum using a structural family map.

Note: Be sure to maintain HIPAA regulations (Refer to Gerlach (2015) in this 

  week’s Learning Resources for guidance on creating a structural family map.) or 

  LOOK AT THE ATTACHED ONE.

· Recommend a specific therapy for the family, and justify your choice using the  Structural Versus Strategic Family Therapies

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Nichols, M. (2014). The essentials of family therapy (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

  • Chapter 5, “Bowen Family Systems Therapy” (pp.      69–88)
  • Chapter 6, “Strategic Family Therapy” (pp.      89–109)
  • Chapter 7, “Structural Family Therapy” (pp. 110–128)

Gerlach, P. K. (2015). Use structural maps to manage your family well: Basic premises and examples. Retrieved from http://sfhelp.org/fam/map.htm

McNeil, S. N., Herschberger, J. K., & Nedela, M. N. (2013). Low-income families with potential adolescent gang involvement: A structural community family therapy integration model. American Journal of Family Therapy, 41(2), 110–120. doi:10.1080/01926187.2011.649110 Structural Versus Strategic Family Therapies

Méndez, N. A., Qureshi, M. E., Carnerio, R., & Hort, F. (2014). The intersection of Facebook and structural family therapy volume 1. American Journal of Family Therapy, 42(2), 167–174. doi:10.1080/01926187.2013.794046

Nichols, M., & Tafuri, S. (2013). Techniques of structural family assessment: A qualitative analysis of how experts promote a systemic perspective. Family Process, 52(2), 207–215. doi:10.1111/famp.12025

Ryan, W. J., Conti, R. P., & Simon, G. M. (2013). Presupposition compatibility facilitates treatment fidelity in therapists learning structural family therapy. American Journal of Family Therapy, 41(5), 403–414. doi:10.1080/01926187.2012.727673

Sheehan, A. H., & Friedlander, M. L. (2015). Therapeutic alliance and retention in brief strategic family therapy: A mixed-methods study. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 41(4), 415–427. doi:10.1111/jmft.12113

Szapocznik, J., Muir, J. A., Duff, J. H., Schwartz, S. J., & Brown, C. H. (2015). Brief strategic family therapy: Implementing evidence-based models in community settings. Psychotherapy Research, 25(1), 121–133. doi:10.1080/10503307.2013.856044 Structural Versus Strategic Family Therapies

                                                     Required Media

Psychotherapy.net (Producer). (2010). Bowenian family therapy [Video file]. Mill Valley, CA: Author.

Triangle Productions (Producer). (2001). Brief strategic therapy with couples [Video file]. La Jolla, CA: Author

Structural mapping is a visual tool. It can help you identify and validate what’s healthy about your family, and illuminate structural problems that lower your nurturance level. The structural mapping scheme outlined here uses  some basic ideas about family functioning. See if you agree with each of these beliefs, and add your own:

 Premises

      1)  A family’s core purpose is to fill all adults’ and children’s needs. A common key need is for a safe haven, where every member feels consistently accepted, valued, respected, supported, and encouraged to develop and use their unique talents. Structural Versus Strategic Family Therapies

Families that don’t fill all their members’ key needs consistently can be called low nurturance or dysfunctional. The more of these factors that exist, the higher the nurturance level. Levels vary over time with structural and environmental changes.       2) The main factors determining a home’s or a family’s nurturance level are…

  • whether the resident adults are psychologically wounded or not, and…
  • whether they’re self and mutually aware and knowledgeable;
  • how healthy the family’s grieving policy is; and…
  • whether the adults are motivated and able to communicate and problem-solve effectively.

From my clinical experience since 1979, I believe many or most typical adults have survived early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse (trauma), and have inherited significant psychological wounds. Few people – including family-life professionals – are aware of this, and/or they don’t know what it means or what to do about it.       Premise 3) All families experience local or chronic stress over surface issues like these:

  • family membership (inclusion and exclusion)
  • boundaries (missing, weak, or rigid; violations; and conflicts)
  • roles (unclear, unstable, inappropriate, and/or conflicting),
  • relationship rules and consequences (unclear, conflicting, inconsistent, and appropriate or not);
  • adapting to and stabilizing after systemic and environmental changes.

Premise 4) The key relationship in a family that includes minor kids should be between mates, vs. an adult and a child or other adults (like grandparent-parent) or two ex mates. In resolving family problems, mates should consistently put their integrities and wholistic health first, their relationship second, and all else third – except in emergencies. Structural Versus Strategic Family Therapies

5)  Family members (like you) can proactively improve their family’s structure and system by taking and applying this online self-improvement course.

Notice your reaction to these premises. If you don’t agree with them, what do you believe?

To use this visual tool, your family adults need some…

  Structural-mapping Symbols

Family-structural maps use symbols to show how members relate to each other. In this article, I’ll use the generic letters below. You can use these letters, your family-members’ names or initials, cartoon figures, faces, or any other meaningful symbols.

Be creative: doing these maps can be fun, as well as instructive! Consider using colored markers or pens, too – whatever makes the diagrams clearer for everyone. Try to see the big picture and theme, to minimize getting boggled by all these symbols. Once you try them, they’re surprisingly easy Structural Versus Strategic Family Therapies

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