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Unformatted text preview: nning with the adult who appears most distant Chapter 4: Strategic & Systemic
from the problem – by asking each to describe concretely the behaviors
associated with the problem. Discuss all previous attempts to solve the
problem and the outcomes. Ask about recent changes in the family (births,
deaths, change of employment, moves, etc.). Maintain the focus on the
presenting problem while gathering additional data. Affirm each family
member’s view and avoid offering interpretations or advice, even if asked.
Block interruptions and note disagreements or discrepancies in family
member’s statements. The therapist remains empathic and non-critical.
4. Observing Family Patterns (15 minutes). The therapist needs a clear picture of
the behaviors of each family member. Having members clarify a specific
aspect of the presenting problem by having them talk to each other about the
problem or by having them enact the dilemma facilitates this goal. Family
members can be asked to describe behaviors of other members as they discuss
the problem, e.g., “Mary, when you and Tom are fighting, what does Mom
do?” Family members might reenact the problem, e.g., “Tom, show me what
happens when Mary comes in late.” The therapist should observe and listen
to the family, making note of the interactional patterns and repetitive
Any suggestions during this phase should be directed toward the therapy
goal and/or directly related to the behavior that was observed in the session.
For example, if a younger child continually interrupts a parent, the therapist
may suggest that an older child help with the younger one so the parent can
focus on the session. Compliment family members when their behavior is
positive, for example, “Tom, you are really helpful with little Jimmy. Thank
5. Define the Goals (5 minutes). Ask each member to identify specifically what
he/she would like to be different in the family as well as what he/she would
like to stay the same. Help the family define the changes in clear positive
terms and undersc...
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This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.
- Spring '09