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The six areas of observation are transactional patterns, flexibility, resonance, context, family development stage, and maintaining family interactions.
Let’s imagine a family of 4 with their set interpersonal communication or“transaction” patterns. Per verbal communication, the couples school age children mostly get along with other kids but constantly argue at home and each complain ofpreferential treatment by their parents. The girl is loved by both parents but she is labeled as “defiant” to her mother and seems to “cling” to her dad. The boy on the other hand is labeled “hyperactive” by his father and “manipulative” by his mother.By using the techniques in the structural family theory, we can observe and determine if the family is dysfunctional or not. Using the SFT method the therapist can “join” the family and observe how they communicative and interact with each other. This technique allows the therapist to observe how family members mutually regulate their behaviors, and to determine the place of the problem behavior within the sequence of transactions. ( the 3 year old girl repeatedly ask mom to read a book but is ignored, she then goes to “daddy” who immediately hugs her puts her onhis lap and begins to read)The therapist also makes use of the family developmental stage for preschool children. He/she makes note of their flexibility or in this case lack of flexibility. Therapist observes the family’s transactional patterns. All these tools and techniques help the therapist move the family away from dysfunctional stagnation. ( the 4 ½ year old boy continually jumps up and down while his dad is reading to his sister, he has his foam sword swinging it back and forth wanting to play “pirates with his dad” in his excitement he swings and hits his sister in the face. His dad yells at him and he runs to “mommy” who has begun to do laundry, begging her to “just this once play pirates right now” with him because daddy is yelling again, which see obligatorily does)Another technique the therapist can use to determine if the family is dysfunctional or not is called this family is Enactment. Enactment is the actualization of transactional patterns under the control of the therapist. This technique allows the therapist to observe how family members mutually regulate their behaviors, and to determine the place of the problem behavior within the sequence of transactions.( the therapist notes that the mom is constantly shielding their son from communication with dad because “daddy always has a short fuse; he also notices that if the mother denies their daughter any desired privilege or wish she runs straight to her dad and he immediately changes the rules to accommodate all the daughter’s wants)Another helpful technique is that of Reframing. Reframing or putting the presenting problem in a perspective that is both different from what the family brings and more workable. Using the example of the children in the created “family” above, the therapist has to find out the position and function of the prob-lem behavior: when does the son turn aggressive or hyperactive? What happens