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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.
Originating as a plenary address, this article reviews the enduring contribution of family therapy, and asks how it might best be preserved into the future, given that family therapy itself is no longer seen as ‘news-worthy’. The author makes three recommendations: that all future social workers be trained to conduct a three-session structured family assessment; that all future family therapists be required to participate in a Yalom-type group therapy experience; and that one member of every child mental health and child protection team be trained to convene and chair interagency case conferences capable of building trust and working towards open communication. A rationale for the three recommendations is provided, in terms of key principles common to family and group work.
Family histories of abuse and neglect are common among persons with substance addictions. Clearly such family backgrounds impact on future lifestyle choices. How this early life experience then impacts on the substance user as a parent and on their children has not been considered in the literature in any detail. Clients of local community drug services were invited to participate in a study evaluating the family life of parents who were dependent on illicit substances. Fifteen parents participated in a qualitative, longitudinal study about their family life, treatment and drug of choice. Four aspects of parental perception of family life were examined: the perceived impact of the family of origin on the parent drug user, self-perception, the impact of parental illicit drug use on the family environment, the impact of parental illicit drug use on children. For parents struggling with a substance addiction, it would seem that recovery has much to do with differentiation and gaining a sense of agency.
This study documents how residents experience Multiple Family Group (MFG) treatment in an 18-week residential therapeutic program for people with a severe substance disorder. Individual in-depth interviews with nine residents and three ex-residents of European descent were undertaken, and analysed using a descriptive thematic analysis. Results indicate that, prior to taking part in the program, their relationships with their families were seriously damaged and their situations often appeared complex and hopeless. After attending the MFGs all of the participants of this study experienced a number of positive changes in their relationships with their family members and partners. All interviewees said that they had gained more awareness about their interactions, better communications skills and were able to integrate these skills into their relationships with their families and partners.
Nada Miocevic is a social worker and family therapist who trained at Zagreb University in Croatia and at Melbourne University in Victoria, Australia. She completed her training in family therapy in 1975 at the Bouverie Centre, Melbourne. Since migrating to Australia in 1967, her work with migrant and refugee families has taken her throughout Australia and overseas. Currently she is in private practice. Her work involves conducting training courses in supervision and supervision of supervision, as well as her continuing work with families who experience long-term illnesses.
This article looks at a process-oriented play therapy for children adversely affected by parental separation. Process-oriented play therapy is a therapeutic method that involves the therapist directly entering the ‘world of play’ with the child, by amplifying various modes of expression and helping underlying meaning to emerge, in order to help children access aspects of their life they feel they have no say in. One particular case has been used as an example, involving ‘Jim’ (pseudonym) and his mother, who attended the play therapy session.
A highly intelligent psychopath is not easily identified, and counsellors can fall victim to their manipulations unless aware of the characteristics by which psychopaths can be identified and to the feelings and sensations that they provoke. When working individually with clients, engaging other family members may be a necessary safeguard against clinical manipulation and its undesirable consequences.