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We Don't Need Your Help, But Will You Please Fix Our Children

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 March 2012

Jenny Brown*
Affiliation:
Family Systems Institute, Neutral Bay.jbrown@thefsi.com.au
*
*Address for correspondence: 30 Grosvenor St Neutral Bay NSW 2089.
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Abstract

A Bowen Family Systems therapist employs concepts of triangles and the family projection process to view a child's symptoms as embedded in the broader family patterns. This article will examine the dynamics of two family therapy cases where parents anxiously asked for their children's symptoms to be fixed. These cases will be used to explore the common presentation in child and adolescent mental health, where the parents are concerned for their children but are also keen not to open their own ‘can of worms’. The presenting problem in the first case was violent hostility between adolescent sisters and in the second case was an adolescent's anorexia. Drawing on client feedback, I reflect on the therapy process behind the divergent outcomes. In case one, the parents were willing to address their own troubled relationship and family of origin, while in case two, the parents discontinued therapy when family of origin dynamics began to be explored. The article suggests how the therapist can evoke parents' curiosity about their role in anxious family patterns, without them feeling blamed.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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We Don't Need Your Help, But Will You Please Fix Our Children
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