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Nichols Chapter 7 Experiential Family Therapy

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Carl Whitaker
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Leading figure in experiential family therapy; wanted to “puncture pretense” and liberate family to be themselves; had a background in psychiatry. Saw dysfunctional families as fearful of conflict or uncertainty and so create rigid boundaires.
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Virginia Satir
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Leading figure in experiential family therapy; emphasized communication and emotional experiencing; came from the Mental Research Institute. Believed in 4 ways of dishonest communication: blaming, placating, being irrelevant, being super reasonable.
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Existential-humanistic tradition
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This movement emphasized freedom and immediacy of experience and is the back drop for experiential family therapy.
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Family myths
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A set of beliefs based on a distortion of historical reality and shared by all family members that help shape the rules governing family functioning. Healthy families validate children’s feelings and experiences and in dysfunctional families they are frightened and insecure and curb these actions.
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Mystification
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Laing’s concept that many families distort their children’s experience by denying or relabeling it.
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Susan Johnson
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Founder of emotionally focused couples therapy. Believed that secure attachment bonds create emotional accessibility and responsiveness and come from childhood secure attachments and present relationships.
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Attachment injuries
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Traumatic occurrences that damage the bond between partners and, if not resolved, maintain negative cycles and attachment insecurities.
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Existential encounter
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A technique therapists use by becoming a “family member” in a sense and sharing his genuine emotions to affect change. He must help the family get angry, begin to process their emotions, and bring them closer together.
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Family sculpting
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A nonverbal experiential technique in which family members position themselves in a tableau that reveals significant aspects of their perceptions and feelings.
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Family drawing
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An experiential technique in which family members are asked to draw their ideas about how the family is organized.
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Role-playing
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Acting out the parts of important characters to dramatize feelings and practice new ways of relating.
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Empty chair technique
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A member is asked to speak to an empty chair if someone who is mentioned isn’t present.
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Internal family systems therapy
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Conflicting inner voices or sub personalities are known as parts. Family member’s conflicts are often based on polarizations of only part of what they feel. By sorting through these parts they can begin to feel less polarized and reconnect. Created by Schwartz.
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Managers
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These are protective, strategic, and controlling of their environment to keep things safe. They can be external or internal elements. Part of Schwartz’s theory.
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Exiles
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These are the most sensitive members of the parts theory. When they are injured or outraged they get imprisoned by the managers for their and the systems protection. Fear, sadness, anger.
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Fire fighters
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These react powerfully and automatically when exiles are upset and try to stifle or soothe these feelings. Part of Schwart’s theory.
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Co-therapy
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When working with another therapist they can help to balance each other so neither gets inducted into the system and become emotionally lost with the family. You’re able to resist countertransference.
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Emotionally focused couples therapy
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This therapy works on two levels in succession: uncovering the hurt and longing beneath defensive expressions of anger and withdrawal and then helping couples understand how these feelings are played out in their relationship.
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Experiential family therapy
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This type of therapy strengthens families by encouraging individual self-expression and is committed to emotional well-being as opposed to problem solving. Personal integrity and self-fulfillment are seen as innate human capacities that will emerge spontaneously once defensiveness is overcome.
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Inside out process of change
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The real self
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Part of parts theory, this is a person’s core of compassion and strength where you are non-judgmental and have clarity.
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unexpressed emotion
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primary cause of dysfunction in family
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expanding experience
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experiential therapy differs from most systems with respect to its emphasis on
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goals of experiential family therapy
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increased personal integrity greater freedom of choice increased sensitivity to one’s needs and feelings
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group of individuals
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families are typically conceived and treated as
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existential encounter
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the essential healing force in the psycho-therapeutic process. The therapist establishes caring, person-to-person relationships with each family member while modeling openness, honesty, and spontaneity.
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family connectedness
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Carl Whitaker, like Murray Bowen, believes that personal growth also requires
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self-actualization
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process of developing and fulfilling one’s innate, positive potentialities
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facilitate emotional experiencing in family members
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experiential family therapy is designed to
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Open, spontaneous experiencing
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more important than problem-solving skills or functional family structure