entire family without making anyone feel like like H u m a n i t i e s

entire family without making anyone feel like like H u m a n i t i e s

Discussion #1 Case Study

Gloria M.

All of Brad’s behaviors indicate that he is clearly depressed or experiencing emotional devastation at minimum. His parents’ form of reinforcement to his clearly deviant issues are not properly addressing the underlying issues at hand…his decline in mood. Additionally Brad is at the pubescent age whereas various mental changes of immaturity incorporate the presence of new psychological structures including but not limited to emotional vulnerability. Altogether Brad’s parents may be disappointed in his actions but at the end of the day they must conceptualize the fact that mental issues mixed with self harm is an extremely fragile situation which needs careful administration in order to avoid the worst possible outcome…suicide. Inconsistent, unpredictable family environments also contribute to psychiatric illness in children. That is why there is a need for family therapy. In fact, families that experience useless connections and/or dysfunctional relationships are often the source of potential mental health issues later in life (Horne, 2020).

Structural Family Therapy in particular addresses issues pertaining to hierarchy issues, divided alliances in the family unit and more! For these reasons amongst various others, Structural Family Therapy (SFT) is amongst the most popular orientations. Although any family unit can attend and benefit from Structural Family Therapy (SFT), it is often recommended to families who’ve experienced trauma, blended families, single-parent families, and families at risk. Therefore, Brad’s family could benefit from this approach. Three structural principles which should be addressed in this situation are the importance of creating an effective hierarchical structure in the family, helping parents complement one another as well as constructing an effective parental subsystem for their household and lastly, increasing the frequency of interactions and nurturance, if the family is disengaged (Hadfield, 2020). There are definitely some discrepancies with the level of comfort and engagement methodologies present in the scenario that may be imposing more harm and adverse impact on the subject, Brad, in which the family does not necessarily understand and/or value. To alter this concept I would use the tactics pertaining to joining, unbalancing and enactment. Joining is essential because this process elicits comfortability. If done successfully, the therapist is able to construct an empathetic relationship with the family in order to modify the family’s current functioning (Hadfield, 2020). As noted with any therapeutic orientation to ever exist, the therapists and counselor relationship is vital. Nevertheless, joining is an ongoing process and sometimes depends on the therapist’s ability to accurately reflect back an understanding of the family’s problems, ensuring that they are heard and understood. Unbalancing on the other hand is advisable because it creates a way for the system to change in terms of hierarchical relationships and boundaries concerning each member in the family. Brad probably has many restrictions due to aspects of his livelihood such as being the only child and therefore prime focus of his parents, behaving poorly in and outside of academics and due to the self harm he’s been inflicting on himself. These are all considerably respectful reasons for parents to become more strict on a child. However, there is a time where every parent should recognize when their child’s behavior is not immature or purposelessly deviant, but a reflection of a real issue.

Unbalancing allows different family members to try out new roles in the family that before seemed unattainable. This could help Brad as well as his parents because by presuming a more level playing field his parents can resume power while allowing him the room necessary to express his issues. Harping down on his every weakness and downfall will only further push him away. Changing roles in terms of the parents attempting to put themselves in Brads shoes can drastically help him in the sense that he will begin to understand that they are really here to help, and not just control/judge him. Additionally, enactment could also benefit the family by showing the Dad the intimidating and frustrating encounter of being yelled at even in the appropriate situation. By experiencing the negative feelings Brad likely experiences when being punished for his poor actions the Dad can gain first hand insight on how ineffective his methods truly are.


Horne, C. (2020). What is structural family therapy (SFT). Retrieved from

Dr. January and Class,

The first technique I am interested in using with this family is enactment. Brad has a long history of mental health issues and depression seems to be a primary aspect of this. Very little is said about Brad’s mother, but his father’s reaction to being caught smoking cigarettes is what is worrisome. I am not condoning Brad’s smoking or being disrespectful to his parents in any way. His dad’s reaction seems a bit harsh and leads me to wonder what other issues are occurring in the family that warranted the reaction. Using an enactment will provide the family and myself a better opportunity to understand how they respond to one another, as opposed to simply listening to their words (Metcalf, 2011). With this family, there are enactments other than Brad being caught smoking that I am interested in. What Brad has experienced for the past three years is hard enough for adults to cope with, much less a child. I want to discover what Brad and his father will learn from these experiences from this new perspective. As a parent, I would be terrified to learn that my child has thoughts of hurting himself. The feeling of helplessness that may result from this fear could spill over to one of frustration, which Brad’s father may be experiencing. Brad may not recognize or understand how frightened his parents are and doing an enactment may show him some of what they have been through. It would also help his parents and myself to learn more about the issues Brad is dealing with, including his lack of interest in school and more about the impact the breakup with his girlfriend has had.

The second technique to use with this family is reframing, which looks at a situation from a different perspective in order to change the meaning (Hadfield, 2000). In this case, reframing will help me to better interpret the concerns of the family in a way that is different and will give them an alternative viewpoint. I want to challenge the negative thinking and put a positive spin on their concerns; otherwise, they will continue to feel defeated and critical of themselves. Brad has so many concerns right now, so I will focus on one that he has a bit of control over: His schoolwork. He mentioned that he wants to be a mechanic, but he talks about it as if is an ‘only’ situation, i.e. ‘ I only want to be a mechanic.’ I want Brad to recognize that this is a goal which is admirable, and in order to become a mechanic, he needs to do maintain his grades and not leave school. I want to ask him about the classes he is struggling in and look for positive aspects of those courses; perhaps he did well on an essay or a test. Even though he is struggling with the course, the goal is to find a source of positivity in it.

Joining is the third technique I would use with this family. The goal is to develop a relationship with the family and be accepted by them. To do this, I need to align myself with each of the family members while also remaining neutral. Hadfield (2000) notes that the therapist should have an appreciation of what is taking place in this family and of the present situation before attempting to change it. The change must be collaborative and as a result, joining the family, experiencing their reality, and becoming more aware of the interactions they have is key. I am curious about Brad’s parents and what their interaction is like with Brad on an everyday basis. Is this a family that talks to one another and keeps company with one another? Or are they isolated from one another with everyone doing their own thing? Having a clearer understanding of this will help in guiding the family.

Linda Metcalf, P. L.-S. L.-S. (2011). Marriage and Family Therapy: A Practice-Oriented Approach. Springer Publishing Company.

Hadfield, K. (2000). A structural family therapy approach to counselling families. University of Manitoba. Retrieved from Robin A.

Dr. January and Class,

Family therapy for divorced couples who have children holds significant challenges. Therapy for families going through a divorce is often difficult and may be weighted down with conflicts which are hard to contain. There is a great deal of anxiety, anger, fear, sadness, and a sense of loss that is present during a divorce and it does not always come to a quick conclusion when the divorce is finalized. Family members may feel differently from others in the family; it is likely that they will not all agree on different aspects of the divorce, potentially leading to division in the family (Little & Bonnell, 2015). For children of parents who are going through a divorce, this can be an especially trying time, especially if the parents are not in agreement on how to raise the children. There is a challenge for parents to understand what their roles are, what boundaries they should implement, and perhaps most importantly, how they can support their children so they feel safe and remain free of stress when they are with their parents (Little et al., 2015). If parents are not in agreement on how to raise their kids, there is a possibility that these disagreements will spill over in a way that the children become acutely aware of them. The children may feel that they need to take a side between their parents, which only leads to further conflict in the home.

My parents went through a nasty divorce when I was a teenager. Their fights were brutal and part of me believed their actions were normal because it was all I knew. Obviously, I was wrong about this, but it took a very long time to come to terms with the fact that my parents divorce, and what we went through as a result of it, was not normal parental and family behavior. Working with such a family would put me in the position of being aware that my personal attitudes, beliefs, and values are not what is important and I cannot impose them on the family (“ACA Code of Ethics,” 2014). For example, occasionally I still tense up if I see a movie or TV show where the father is verbally abusive. Sometimes I draw conclusions about that person and this is where the problem lies; I cannot draw a conclusion and assume anything about a family member simply because they remind me of my own. In avoiding this, MacLeod (2014) states that simply ignoring the issue within the family is tantamount to colluding with the attitudes of the client. It sends a message that the client’s behavior is acceptable when it is not. When the therapist experiences strong negative feelings regarding a client’s behaviors or beliefs and does not address those with the client, he or she may become critical or resentful of the client, leading to an unproductive impasse in therapy (MacLeod, 2014). Looking for the origin of the client’s beliefs can be done subtly, as I do not want to offend the client or leave them to believe that I am being judgmental, but I would find it helpful to find out more about the purpose that they serve in the client’s lives. MacLeod (2014) believes that gaining insight into a client’s beliefs that do not align with our own allows us to better empathize with the client. Honestly, I feel like there may be roadblocks to this if we are of differing beliefs with the client. Would you agree with this belief or would you find it hard to empathize with someone who’s beliefs are vastly different from your own?

Little, K. & Bonnell, K. (2015). Family-centered, child-inclusive divorce. Counseling Today. Retrieved from https://ct.counseling.org/2015/04/family-centered-child-inclusive-divorce/.

ACA Code of Ethics. (2014). Counseling. Retrieved from https://ct.counseling.org/2014/01/addressing-clients-prejudices-in-counseling/.

Darren E.

Hello class and Professor

A counselor working with families that has dysfunctional behavior problems, and the family consist of same sex marriages, or

religious household, etc Having mental challenges, the counselor should be aware of cultural diversity. There can be more than one

cultural belief in any family. For example, a Muslim family that come from an Islamic country who raise their children in the United

States with the religious culture being different between the parents and the children who are of age, can decide what religion they want

to follow. The counselor needs to be educated about other people culture to respect their clients at all times and to be able to build a

rapport with the entire family without making anyone feel like like the counselor is showing favoritism. According to Metcalf, (2011),

rapport and trust is the lifeline of a therapeutic relationship. The counselor also do not want to become bias or prejudice intentionally,

by not being culturally diversity aware of different cultures when working with people who think, believe, and practice something

different than they do.

It’s always supposed to be about helping the client. According to ACA, (2014). states counselors recognize that culture affects

the manner in which clients’ problems are defined and experienced. Clients’ socioeconomic and cultural experiences are considered

when diagnosing mental disorders. Having culture diversity awareness can help prevent facing any code of ethic violations because of

lack of education. According to ACA, (2014) states that it is the duty and responsibility of the counselor and not the supervisor to make

sure the counselor recieves the education needed to help clients of a different culture. It is not ideal to let something go unchecked as it

can create further problems within the sessions. The goal of the family therapy that are culturally different from your’s is to always be

sensitive to your clients belief if they are different from yours. It’s the primary purpose of the counselor to be sensitive and respectful

to the client to gain an close rapport and comfortability from all the family members.


ACA, (2014). American Counseling Association Code of Ethics

Metcalf, L., P. L.-S. L.-S. (2011). Marriage and family therapy: A practice-oriented approach. Springer Publishing Company.

Discussion #3 Structural Model

Gloria M,

Structural family therapy utilizes numerous ideas to organize and comprehend the family. Of specific significance are structure, subsystems, limits, withdrawal, hierarchy power, arrangement and alliance (Metcalf, 2011). Structural family therapy (SFT) is a treatment that tends to address patterns of collaboration that make issues within a client’s family unit. Emotional wellness issues are seen as indications of a useless family; consequently, the focal point of treatment is on changing the family structure as opposed to changing individual relatives (Metcalf, 2011). This is an ideal purpose and overall aspect of structural family therapy (SFT) because the goal of altering the mannerism in which the family coexists and interacts with one another will, initially, alter the mannerism in which each individual behaves without stressing independent change (as noted with other forms of therapy), and therefore there is less room for feelings of isolation and/or being attacked by anyone. The theoretical assumptions behind this approach reveals essential human patterns of reaction which are essential for the understanding of a group, and in this case, family crisis. Oftentimes, when families are faced with unpleasant circumstance(s), the construction of their valued-based patterns, both psychological and behavioral, get in the way of further exploitation of alternative solutions to a shared problem (Metcalf, 2011). From that point forward, indicative conduct is viewed as a maladaptive response to changing ecological and developmental necessities.

A few tactics I feel are exceptional enough to incorporate into my future work as a professional counselor include the process of joining the family. In joining, the therapist motivates each person to acknowledge his or her pain and stress by first displaying to the family how the therapist understands them and is working with, and for them by utilizing the correct frequencies to speak with relatives (Metcalf, 2011). In Structural Therapy, the professional endeavors to join the family. The overall idea of joining is tolerating and obliging to families to win their certainty and dodge obstruction. However, the practice of Mimesis during the joining process is what I find most intriguing about the entire intervention process concerning joining the family. Mimesis consists of mimicking what the family does initially to make them feel more comfortable with sharing, more quickly. For instance, by imitating the manner, style, effective range, or content of its communications in order to solidify the therapeutic alliance with the family, the therapist may pick up on body language cues and reenact them. This process allows the family to feel more comfortable with confiding in their professional advice. Additionally, the structural therapist also assesses the families strengths, weaknesses, flexibility, resilience and overall characteristic patterns to figure out what works and what does not work within each respective family setting. This is essential as well because many therapies only focus on the bad or unfavorable traits and occurrences within a person’s life when constructing a treatment plan, however research, and history in general shows the importance of reviewing both the good and bad of a person’s existence especially in terms of treatment development. In fact, many of the communication tactics present in the structural approach are appealing in terms of ensuring both comfortability and promoting language/communication cues in which the family themselves are using and highly responsive, or unconscious to. For instance, the text speaks about using a tactic called tracking in order to internalize the communication/language family members use when describing one another, and then regurgitating those same phrases back to them in order to either show the family how absurd, negative or even silly their choice of words are, or to communicate in a mannerism in which each member comprehends the therapists with ease. All of these tactics are seemingly agile but are indeed necessary for the encouragement of the therapeutic relationship which is vital in any effective counseling setting.


Metcalf, L. (2011). Marriage and family therapy: A practice-oriented approach. New York, N.Y.: Springer Pub. Co.

Darren E.

Hello class and Professor

When using structural therapy the writer would use the following three techniques into his career as a counselor first is

the tracking technique, this will allow the counselor to gather the information they need to gain or build a rapport with the client

while helping them to relax themselves and be comfortable while working with the client. According to Metcalf, (2011), tracking

is used to identify the language clients use to describe people or events and is then used to show active listening. Implementing

this method of communication with the clients, it allows for a level of accredabiliy; you listen to their words and their feelings.

Another technique that will be used is the re-framing technique, this technique will help the client to look at their life situation

or problems from an different point of view that will help them to think different about themselves, usually more of a positive

manner. According to Metcalf, (2011), states that when utilizing re-framing it often promotes change as the family begins to

understand their problems differently. Metcalf (2011) notes that within family system there are hierarchy and boundaries, however

depending on how healthy the resources are divided, and boundaries are implemented into the subsystem that is created will be a

direct result of this function or dysfunction.

This is interesting as the subsystem can be very telling of what is going on behind the scenes. The final technique the writer

will use in the career as a counselor is using the structural therapy, this is using the mapping technique. This type of technique will

help the family to understand not only their roles within the family, but also recognize and respect other family members roles as

well, which is very important for families that are experiencing dysfunctional behaviors in the household that will bring about

confusion and resentment toward other family members. This map will help the family to understand who is in what position of the

family and what power (Metcalf, 2011). The one technique that the writer will not use in the career as a counselor is the

re-enactment technique. Although it can share light on the dysfunctional behaviors the family is going through, can also traumatize

a family member by remembering the trauma event, and changed the way they think and behave (Metcalf, 2011).


Metcalf, L. (2011). Marriage and family therapy: A practice-oriented approach. Springer Publishing Company.

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