Through the directive the child and grandmother could

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Unformatted text preview: t out and the parent’s need to help a kind of game. For example, a child developed stomachaches in order to get affection from his grandmother. Not only was this a way for the grandmother and grandson to express tenderness for each other, it also added an element of drama to the Chapter 4: Strategic & Systemic grandmother’s otherwise routine existence, but at a cost to the child. During therapy, the child was asked to pretend that he had a stomachache and the grandmother to pretend to care for him. They were to do this at home every day for one week. Through the directive, the child and grandmother could still be affectionate, grandmother was still needed and loved, but since the stomachaches were no longer necessary, they disappeared. Make-Believe Play. When a child protects his/her parents through symptomatic behavior he/she is helping them covertly. Instead, Madanes (1980) asks parents to make believe they need the child’s help and the child to make believe helping them. Since the parents explicitly ask for help and the child overtly helps them, there is no need for the covert symptomatic behavior. Additionally, when parents intentionally assume an inferior position, they may feel at odds with what is appropriate and reassert their superior position. For example, a mother with several children was in fear of losing her welfare benefits because of a livein boyfriend. Her son sensed her fear and helplessness and developed night terrors. His nightmares were both a metaphor for the mother’s fears and an attempt to help her since she had to set aside her own fears to comfort him. The family was asked to make believe that the mother was afraid because she thought someone was breaking into the house and that she needed the child’s help. The therapist designed a play in which the son was to make believe he was protecting his mother. They were directed to perform this play every night at home. If the mother heard her son screaming in the night, she was to awaken him and his sisters and replay the drama, no matter th...
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