Family Therapy Field
Family therapy is a broad topic for discussion that includes the necessity to investigate and modify the relationships in a family. According to the offered reading, there are three major aspects in family therapy, and they include a system with its properties of wholeness, relationship, and equifinality, triangles, and feedback. Murray Bowen, Virginia Satir, Salvador Minuchin, and Carl Whitaker are the authors of well-known theories about family relationships and family therapy. I find their works helpful for understanding the above-mentioned concepts and recognising the priorities in family relationships.
Bowen introduced transgenerational family theory according to which a family is defined as an emotional unit with a number of complex interactions between the representatives of three generations. The author explains why it is necessary to define the roles between family members and identify problems in a short period of time. Fusion is one of the potential concerns in any family when the roles are poorly or wrongly distributed in a family. As a result, Bowen’s theory contributed to the development of the field of family therapy by responding and reacting to their system as a whole but not as individuals. I believe that balance is a core achievement of family therapy when an “I” position is gained not at the expense of all members’ demands.
Another approach to family therapy through transformational systemic therapy was developed by Satir. I find the Satir method a strong approach to family psychology that helps to improve the relationships in a family. Her major contribution was the necessity to work with the entire family but not only with one person who defines or experiences difficulties. Her approach was to recognise a possible scope for growth and changes through life-long learning. All people have enough qualities and skills to achieve positive results in family relations, and the task of a therapist is to disclose these abilities and investigate the potential of a family.
Minuchin is an author of structural family therapy the goal of which is to address problems that occur in family functioning. Therapy can be possible through loosening or establishing boundaries, depending on the quality of the relationships between family members. I observed that compared to Bowen who focused on grandparents, parents, and children, Minuchin chose parent-child relationships and used communication as a major approach to family therapy.
As well as Satir, Whitaker paid attention to growth experiences in a family. His key contribution to the family therapy field was the recognition of positive feedback in therapy. I agree that sometimes, instead of correcting symptoms or preventing problems, therapy has to be used to analyse the same problems within the frames of different situations. Whitaker claimed that it was a responsibility of a family member to find out problems and rely on personal freedoms.
The Development of Family Therapy
The success of family therapy depends on different factors, including diversity, collaboration, and culture. Family members may have a variety of attitudes to therapies, but many of them usually depends on personal preferences and interests. Therapists are challenged by the necessity to understand the cultural heritage of every family and unit of its members especially if some of them have different cultural roots. Therefore, I believe in the necessity of the work of modern researchers and theorists who continue investigating family problems and relationships through the prism of the chosen factors.
A multi-cultural perspective cannot be ignored in family therapy because it determines the future of parent-child relationships. Multiculturalism is a frequent issue in family relationships that helps to endorse personal freedoms, encourage flexibility in decision-making, and contribute to a safe future of a family. To achieve positive results in family therapy, acculturation is one of the most frequent processes that have to be promoted. Cultural accuracy and exchange of experiences should help families recognise their interests and the spheres that unit them and make them stronger.
Diversity in a family is a frequently developed concept that cannot be ignored or misunderstood. Family members are free to have different interests and preferences in regards to their age, gender, or race. If there is a multicultural family, its members are at risk of having serious problems with diversity as their main root. Family therapy aims to eradicate diversity-related problems through distributing functions within a family and regulations of relationships.
In the existing variety of approaches to family therapy, a collaborative approach is used to make sure that family members may share their subjective views, exchange opinions, and receive feedback. In the post-modern development of the family therapy field, this type of treatment gained recognition as a possibility for people to reach an understanding, improve their communication, and resolve conflicts, using different perspectives. I think that open communication and attention to each perspective as the core issues in collaboration have to be promoted by therapists.
There are many attitudes towards the development of relationships in a family. According to Gottman and Silver (2000), almost all families usually experience some conflict situations, which turns out to be a sign of healthy relationships where people demonstrate their individuality and different positions. Using the material offered during this course, I get an opportunity to identify several important contributions to my understanding of therapy in family relationships.
Nowadays, adult attachment is developed in many different ways, and love is not always a key factor in such relationships. However, the investigations of Johnson show that couple therapy with love is a key element and attachment theory as its foundation becomes a revolution in family therapy. In her reading, Johnson (2008) underlines the importance of safe connection through developing fears associated with the feeling of abandonment or removing all unnecessary attachment needs. I find her love-and-attachment approach in couples therapy an effective means to analyse human relationships and improve connection.
Family relationships can be improved in a variety of ways, and couples therapy remains a serious contribution to the field of family therapy. In his interview with Wyatt (2000), Gottman explains what can make happy marriages and how to use personal experiences in new therapies. There are many interesting thoughts and methods to help people save their marriages, but I was fascinated with the one about the profiles of a marriage. According to Gottman (Wyatt, 2000), three profiles exist, including friendship, conflict, and shared meanings and depending on the functions family members perform. I like the idea to limit relationships into three categories and use therapeutic approaches in accordance with the chosen characteristics.
Finally, during this course, the opinion of Schnarch on reinvesting marriage was evaluated. His intention to investigate marriage through true love, passion and, especially, hot sex attracts the attention of many people (Weintraub, 2012). Schnarch demonstrates a high level of sarcasm in his discussion. For example, he says that it is a difficult task for many people to become an adult emotionally and mentally, and passionate marriage cannot be achieved without this transition (Weintraub, 2012). I improved my understanding of the relationships between a man and a woman with the help of this reading and learned that lies and conflicts are not always bad for a marriage.
Gottman, J, M., & Silver, N. (2000). The seven principles for making marriage work: A practical guide from the country’s foremost relationship expert. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.
Johnson, S. (2008). My, how couples therapy has changed! Attachment, love and science. Web.
Wyatt, R. C. (2000). John Gottman on couples therapy. Web.