Socw 6121 wk 1 | SOCW 6121 – Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice II | Walden University

 

Week 1: Family Theories

Understanding family systems and the complex interactions among the members is extremely valuable to a clinical social worker. Throughout clinical practice, the social worker works with families in some capacity. Family theories help guide the social worker in practice. Many family theories exist from which to choose, and most of them complement one another. This week, you are introduced to major contributors to the field of family theory. You will evaluate family theories, and you will apply concepts and models to social work practice.

Note: In this course, students in your peer group will create videos and/or PowerPoint presentations, and you will be asked to review them. The goal is to make these materials accessible to everyone, regardless of disability or language of origin. If you are unable to access these materials, it is your responsibility to request appropriate accommodations from the Office of Disability Services at your University within the first week of the course start date.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Apply family theory concepts/models to social work practice

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Walden University. (n.d.). MSW interactive home page [Multimedia]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. (Eds.). (2013). Sessions case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing.
“The Petrakis Family” (pp. 20–22)

Banmen, J. (2002). The Satir model: Yesterday and today. Contemporary Family Therapy24(1), 7–22.

Brown, J. (1999). Bowen family systems theory and practice: Illustration and critique. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 20(2), 94–103. Retrieved from http://www.thefsi.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Bowen-Family-Systems-Theory-and-Practice_Illustration-and-Critique.pdf

Vetere, A. (2001). Structural family therapy. Child & Adolescent Mental Health6(3), 133–139.

Bowen Center for the Study of the Family: Georgetown Family Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.thebowencenter.org

Document: Group Wiki Project Guidelines (PDF)

Document: Wiki Instructions (PDF)

Required Media

Laureate Education. (Producer). (2013e). Petrakis (Episode 6) [Video file]. In Sessions. Baltimore, MD: Producer. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 2 minutes.

 Assignment 1

  • Describe your experience in working with groups and families, whether as a participant, leader, and/or observer (e.g., agency committee, interdisciplinary team, book club, church group).
  • Describe what you are hoping to gain from this course.
  • If you are comfortable doing so, relate a fun fact about yourself, such as hobbies, personal interests, or experiences.

 

Discussion 2: Family Theory

Murray Bowen is one of the most respected family theorists in the field of family therapy. Bowen views the family unit as complex and believes it is important to understand the interactions among the members in order to solve problems. Satir and Minuchin also advanced family therapy with their concepts and models. As a clinical social worker, using these models (along with having an ecological perspective) can be very effective in helping clients.

For this Discussion, review the “Petrakis Family” case history and video session.

By Day 4

Post (using two concepts of Bowen’s family theory) a discussion and analysis of the events that occurred after Alec moved in with his grandmother up until Helen went to the hospital. If you used the concepts of structural family therapy, how would your analysis of the situation be different? Which family theory did you find to be most helpful in your analysis? Finally, indicate whether Satir’s or Minuchin’s model is the more strength-based model. Why?

By Day 6

Respond to two colleagues who chose a different Bowenian concept in analyzing the events, and offer an alternative viewpoint.

 Chastidy Boutin RE: Discussion 2 – Week 1COLLAPSE

Post (using two concepts of Bowen’s family theory) a discussion and analysis of the events that occurred after Alec moved in with his grandmother up until Helen went to the hospital.
Bowen’s family theory is an identifiable by eight concepts with a focus in behaviors that develop in a family system (Brown, J. 1999). The purpose of the Bowen Family Theory is to reduce or eliminate anxiety and the symptoms surrounding its presence. The two concepts that will be analyzed for the Petrakis Family case is ‘Emotional Fushion and Differentiation of Self’ and ‘Nuclear Family Emotional System – Symptoms in a Spouse’.

With the first concept, Emotional Fusion and Differentiation of Self, the actions of the choices of an individual are arranged or changed to better create a level of balance within the family system (Brown, J., 1999). Helen expressed her concerns to Alec about the frustrations she was currently having with the situation involving Magda’s care. Alec suggested that he would be able to take over some of the care of Magda, releasing his mother of stress, and begin living in the home with his grandmother. According to the interpretation of the theory’s context, fushion can be expressed in a way that is similar to Alec’s reaction to his mother’s emotional stress outburst. Fushion is often shown as a feeling of intense responsibility got another’s reaction. Alec felt as though his mother’s distress was an issue that was displayed onto him due to the fact Helen was taking responsibility for so many chores for Magda.
 

   Concept 2 is ‘Nuclear Family Emotional System’. The emotion dysfunction of the family is apparent more within this concept. In the category of ‘Symptoms of a Spouse’, a spouse’s functioning can be pushed into roles that are held to far more responsibility than the other party. The spouse who takes on more responsibility is said to experience symptoms more likely than the opposing due to the feeling of needing to have a solution to the issues present (citation). Helen takes on many roles in the family and has been identified as the role of Magda’s primary caretaker. Magda took on the primary role of caring for Magda as it was felt that the children were too busy to contribute to the help of anything in the household. Magda’s health began as a small role, which then took on a bigger one and Helen maintained her role as her caregiver. Ultimately, she decided to allow Alec to help care for Magda as well, but the stress of the situation ended Helen up in the hospital.

             If you used the concepts of structural family therapy, how would your analysis of the situation be different?

The Structural Family Theory is composed of a systemic view of the structural or organizational functioning of a family system. The understanding of the structural family theory is a composed interpretation of detailing current levels of family interaction (Vetere, A., 2001). The structure additionally not secludedly observes the level of functioning in one level of the family, but in the subsystems as well to include measures such as boundaries and thus forth. When using this theory for the case of The Petrakis Family, the social worker would create a visual chart of the family to include elements of the members, responsibilities, and relationships. This method helps to create an understanding of the family’s interaction and potentially problematic issues and where interventions could be included for support. The Structural Family Theory would differ because it is identifying individual family members more along with a generalization of problems and find interventions. I would take the information from this theory and be able to clearly identify each person in the family’s role in care for Magda and well as other household responsibilities they carry. This could clearly help to indicate the heavy stress load that Helen carries for all of her family members.

Which family theory did you find to be most helpful in your analysis?

I found the Structural Family Theory to be more helpful as it is a visual representation of the family and the included subsystems identified in the hierarchy. This theory additionally helps to provide an interpretation of the fact of responsibility for individual members. According to Vetere, A., (2001), those who use the structural dynamic explore the structure of the family such as subsystems, boundaries, functions, relationships, and social support (Vetere, A., 2001). With the identification of the family functioning, the social worker can identify areas that are strong and those that need reconstruction. 

Finally, indicate whether Satir’s or Minuchin’s model is the more strength-based model. Why?

When observing both models, it is interpreted that Minuchin’s Model is more Strengths-based due to the formation of the approach of the theory. The Structural Family Theory has focus on reducing symptoms, identification of self issues and the differentiation of the person from their family of origin. The focus on helping the individual helps to encourage growth on specific details of strength. The Structural Family Theory finds the behaviors of individuals are a function of the relationships conducted with others. The main goal is to help encourage growth to encourage a stronger family system (Vetere, A., 2001).

Response 2

 Jamie Mahaffey RE: Discussion 2 – Week 1COLLAPSE

Post (using two concepts of Bowen’s family theory) a discussion and analysis of the events that occurred after Alec moved in with his grandmother up until Helen went to the hospital.

Using the concepts Nuclear Family Emotional Process (impairment of child and marital conflict) and Multigenerational Transmission Process from Bowen’s family theory we can analyze the events with the Petrakis family (Brown, 1999). Alec is the oldest child of Helen and Jon and there was likely a focus on him from both his parents but likely primarily Hellen which created an impairment of the child when considering the Nuclear Family Emotional Process (Brown, 1999). This is likely why Alec struggled to fulfill his parent’s expectations and struggled with drug use. Alec was also more likely than his siblings to feel the marital tensions between Helen and Jon due to the care of his grandmother Magda which is why he offered to help his mother in caring for his grandmother. The Multigenerational Transmission Process helps in the concept of the Petrakis family when we consider the role that Magda likely played in John’s life when he was a child (Brown, 1999). Magda likely also cared for all members of her family and supported more traditional roles that the mother is expected to take care of their family in domestic ways such as cooking and cleaning. This explains why John becomes dissatisfied with Helen when her caring for his mother infringes on her ability to make dinner and clean for him and the children. Helen also follows this and views her self-worth in her ability to care for the family which also comes from the concept of the Multigenerational Transmission Process.

If you used the concepts of structural family therapy, how would your analysis of the situation be different?

If I were to consider the concepts of structural family therapy instead, I am not sure that my analysis would vary so greatly from Bowen’s family theory because both incorporate the complexity of a family and how the members interact with each other. However, one difference when considering structural family therapy would be also including the other systems the family members operate in including work, school, friends, etc. and those systems effects on individual family members along with how that affects their role withing the family (Vetere, 2001). Bowen’s family theory seems more focused on the family members relationships and how they are affected by each other as opposed to how outside forces affect them. For example, Alec’s issues may stem from more than his parent’s attentions but also from his friends and people he is around outside of his family.

Which family theory did you find to be most helpful in your analysis?

I feel that both models are equally helpful in the analysis of the Petrakis family. The Bowen family theory takes a deep dive into the roles people have within their family considering parent’s childhood and their parent’s childhoods and how it affects people’s interactions within their marriages and with their own children and parenting styles. The concepts of structural family therapy include other systems that need to also be considered when we view relationships within a family and how they are impacted.

Finally, indicate whether Satir’s or Minuchin’s model is the more strength-based model. Why?

It seems that Satir’s model is more strength-based than Minuchin’ structural family therapy as it seems to inspire clients to be more self-aware and gives them the power to change their situation (Banmen, 2002). While structural family therapy helps in the analysis of the family systems and how they might affect one another, it does not fully explore the individuality that Satir does in the consideration of the Iceberg model and empowering the client to create and promote change in their life.

References

Banmen, J. (2002). The Satir model: Yesterday and today. Contemporary Family Therapy, 24(1), 7–22.

Brown, J. (1999). Bowen family systems theory and practice: Illustration and critique. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 20(2), 94–103. Retrieved from http://www.thefsi.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Bowen-Family-Systems-Theory-and-Practice_Illustration-and-Critique.pdf

Vetere, A. (2001). Structural family therapy. Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 6(3), 133–139.

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