How could the family genogram be applied to the treatment of a family with addiction issues? Please apply this to a hypothetical family.

How could the family genogram be applied to the treatment of a family with addiction issues? Please apply this to a hypothetical family.

This discussion question is informed by the following CACREP Standards:

2.F.5.a. Theories and models of counseling.

2.F.5.b. A systems approach to conceptualizing clients.

TEXTBOOKS

Murdock, N. L. (2017). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy: A case (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. ISBN-13: 9780134240220.

URL:

http://www.gcumedia.com/digital-resources/pearson/2016/theories-of-counseling-and-psychotherapy_a-case-approach_ebook_4e.php

1 posts

Re: Topic 6 DQ 1 (Obj. 6.1 and 6.4)

Bowenian family systems have a lot to take in when conducting family therapy sessions. There are a lot of terms and the theory does a lot of good to help people and families. However, sometimes the terms can cause a bit of confusion with the new counselor as they seek to assess and help their clients. In particular, “the definitions of differentiation, chronic anxiety, and stress seem to overlap in Bowen’s system, causing some fuzziness in at least my understanding of the relations among these concepts. Sometimes stress, differentiation, and anxiety appear to be separate, independent constructs. However, at other points Bowen seemed to use these terms interchangeably, or at least he implied that the three qualities covary perfectly” (Murdock 2017). These terms overlap and have instances where they share areas or symptoms with clients that we can find confusing. If the counselor is confused about these aspects, then it will be hard for him or her to work with the client’s struggles to make goals for their therapy relationship. So the best thing that the counselor can do is have an accurate understanding of these terms and what they mean. Some strategies for applying Bowenian theory with a client involve understanding this theory from a personal standpoint. “Bowen thought that counselors wanting to do BFST should work on their own levels of differentiation. Kerr and Bowen noted that “the more a therapist has worked on differentiation of self in his own family, the more he will be able to get closely involved with a clinical family and still be ‘outside’ the system The idea is that the therapist is a neutral, objective observer who avoids the clutches of the clients’ emotional system. Transference, although recognized by Bowen theorists, is to be avoided. Therefore, the therapist needs to undergo BFST therapy himself so that he can competently provide help to others” (Murdock 2017). This idea makes sense, I struggled to teach a Bible Study to addicts when I was a seminary student as I did not know all the terms they were learning and using in their classes they took. I simply could not connect with them, and the Bible Studies were going poorly no matter what I did until I realized that I may not understand addiction to illegal substances but as a human struggling with weight issues, I understood addiction in a different way. I think Bowenian family therapy can truly add some insight into families and help them grow closer together and stronger together.

2 posts

Re: Topic 6 DQ 1 (Obj. 6.1 and 6.4)

These three systems have very different focal points. A new counselor would have to choose a ahead of time and stick with it, or else it could cause a great amount of confusion if it were to switch mid-therapy. As Murdock (2017) discussed, structural is interested in the development of the family and problems are in the relationship, not the individuals. Strategic users pay attention to patterns of communication, specifically repetitive patterns, and the behavior within the family unit. Bowenian counselors, which are the non-traditional followers of Bowen, help the client in the present but focus on multigenerational issues. A new counselor must have a clear plan of approach and end goal when implementing family systems theories.

There are many constructs within the theories that could be applied in individual therapy, in my opinion. Bowen family systems theory (BFST) relies heavily on differentiation and that a healthy family has a healthy balance of togetherness and separation (Murdock, 2017). This can be applied to the individual as well. Communication from individual to individual within the family hierarchy can be pulled from strategic therapy. Structural family therapy discusses boundaries. Each person, within the family, can develop a flexible set of rules to follow that can then help the family.

2 posts

Re: Topic 6 DQ 1 (Obj. 6.1 and 6.4)

One issue I can see being a challenge is trying to treat a group instead of an individual.. Most of these other theories we’ve discussed have been very specific to treating the individual and not about figuring out a group dynamic. Another challenge I can see is avoiding any kind of cultural bias. Different cultures have vastly different versions of what a family system should be. The roles in a family can vary greatly, and don’t all adhere to a western european structure like I’m sure most of us are used to.

As far as applying these theories to individual therapy goes, I suppose a counselor could discuss these theories and techniques with just one person by helping that one person identify their role in their own family and then help the client figure out how to find balance or whatever the specific therapy is helping with. I’ll use structural therapy as an example. One of the techniques is called reframing. “In reframing, the therapist helps the family change their view of themselves from one that is narrow and negative to a picture that is more positive and flexible.” (Murdock, 2017, p. 418) I see no reason why this same kind of intervention can’t be used with an individual trying to figure out their role in their family or their career, or any other aspect in their life. Another intervention used is boundary making, which “involves tactics that better boundaries within a family system.”(Murdock, 2017, p. 419) Having healthy boundaries is important in more than just families and it would be very beneficial for individuals to be able to have the capability to establish healthy boundaries with others in their lives and to be able to set what boundaries they are comfortable with for themselves.