The First Overarching MFT Concept Explained Essay Example
The First Overarching MFT Concept Explained Essay Example

The First Overarching MFT Concept Explained Essay Example

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  • Pages: 15 (3918 words)
  • Published: August 24, 2017
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Our purpose in this book is to provide a comprehensive overview of specific achievements, tools, and methods that combine a straightforward psychological theory based on Transactional Analysis (TA) and Gestalt Therapy, in harmony with Biblical principles.

Family Systems Theory (FST) was developed by Ludwig Von Bertalanffy as a result of his work on general systems theory, which offered a different approach to science in the mid-twentieth century. Instead of the mechanistic explanations of the time, Von Bertalanffy's theory argued that beings are complex, organized, and synergistic. This shift in perspective required a broader, holistic orientation in order to fully understand the dynamics involved. Von Bertalanffy's work on general systems theory had relevance in fields such as community planning, computer science and programming, and the social sciences. By the end of the 20th century, FST had become a ma


jor theoretical foundation for empirical investigations into the study of families and for the development of clinical interventions and programs. A general systems perspective examines how components of a system interact with each other to form a whole.

Rather than solely focusing on each individual part, a systems perspective emphasizes the connection and interrelatedness of all the parts. This perspective allows one to observe how a change in one part of a system affects the other parts, which, in turn, influences the initial part. The application of this perspective is particularly relevant when studying families, who are composed of individual members who share a history, have emotional bonds, and develop strategies to meet the needs of both individuals and the family unit (Sabatelli, 1999). Family Systems Theory (FST) helps understand the complexity of families as organizations and the interactive patterns

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that shape family interactions.

The ability to approach healing in a diverse manner allows us to empathize with our clients and create an atmosphere of trust to address and heal the emotional wounds of their past. By establishing deep empathy from the very beginning, we lay the foundation for trust and help the clients progress through their healing process. Bowenian Therapy and Genogram are powerful tools that provide valuable insights about the triggers that need healing. We make note of these issues and bring them up during sessions where we use various therapeutic techniques such as Inner Healing Prayer, Conjoint Family Therapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming and Reframing, Gestalt Therapy, and Psychodrama. These therapeutic approaches have been influenced by Family Systems theory. General Systems Theory supports the idea that families adapt and function based on the challenges they face and the developmental needs of their members.An argument is made in a household systems attack that in order to comprehend a household system, we must examine the household as a complete entity. Even if two households reside across the street from one another and have the same composition of a mother, father, and child, they inherently possess distinct differences in their modes of interaction and shared past.

In contrast, a non-systems attack would involve analyzing households individually in order to understand each member. By examining households separately, including their interactions, communication, wit, and uniqueness, one can risk losing sight or having unclear perceptions. Family systems theorists and practitioners often use the analogy of baking to illustrate this concept. The bar that comes out of the oven is more than just a combination of eggs, flour, oil, baking soda, and

vanilla. The key idea is how these elements come together to create something greater than the individual ingredients. This also holds true for families.

The composition of a household goes beyond simply identifying who is a part of it, it also depends on how they interact with each other. The concept of hierarchies explains how households are structured into various smaller units or subsystems that make up the larger household system (Minuchin, 1974). These subsystems are often organized based on gender or generation according to Minuchin. Typically, practitioners have focused on three main subsystems: marital (or couple), parental, and sibling. The individuals and the specific tasks or objectives that define each subsystem distinguish them from one another.

Families may organize subsystems to accomplish the tasks and goals of the household. When the members or tasks associated with each subsystem overlap with those of other subsystems, families initially appear to have difficulties. For example, when a child gets involved in issues within the marriage subsystem, problems often arise that require intervention. Our role as healers is to assist in breaking up dysfunctional subsystems by changing behavioral patterns and psychological games (Berne, 1964) and miniscript cycles (Kahler, 1997). It is also important for the therapist to help the client recognize positive patterns and maintain any alliances that strengthen the family system.

The concept of boundaries is closely connected to the holistic theory and hierarchies. Families establish boundaries to separate what is part of their household system from what is outside of it. These boundaries exist at all levels of the system and between subsystems. They affect the movement of individuals entering and leaving the system. Additionally, boundaries also control the

exchange of information entering and leaving the household.

While the concept of boundaries in household systems is primarily metaphorical, the permeability of these boundaries often distinguishes one household from another. Some households have open boundaries, allowing members and others to come and go without many limitations. On the other hand, there are households with strict restrictions on where members can go and who can enter the system. Boundaries also control the flow of information within a household. In closed households, regulations determine which information can be discussed and with whom. In contrast, households with permeable boundaries allow information to flow more freely.

Drs. Cloud and Townsend (Townsend, 1992) have effectively incorporated Biblical principles into the issue of setting boundaries. A Willcox often conducts workshops at her church on the topic of establishing and maintaining "boundaries" with children and young adults, parents, and spouses. Practitioners working with families often come across families where they are welcomed and receive unrestricted information about the family. In such families, acceptance of the practitioner's ideas and interventions is only limited. However, in more closed families, acceptance of the practitioner may prove more difficult. Obtaining information about the family becomes harder and the practitioner's ideas and interventions face more resistance. It is important to acknowledge that boundaries exist within the family system and help distinguish the various subsystems that make up the larger family system.

In order to distinguish between the permeability of family boundaries, a therapist must openly address their own boundary issues through equal appraisal or supervision. The permeability of family boundaries often changes with the developmental age and needs of family members, especially teenagers and young adults who are constantly exposed

to new ideas and people. The concept of mutuality is implicit in the discussion of the organizational structure of family systems (Constatine, 1993). According to Bertalanffy (1975), individual family members and the subsystems they belong to can influence and are mutually dependent on each other. It is important to recognize that actions or events affecting one family member will impact other members as well. This is a key concept in clinical models derived from a systems perspective.

An essential understanding of familial involvement is crucial when considering the systemic impact of any active intervention.

Challenges & Future Directions for General Systems Theory:

General Systems Theory (GST) has significantly influenced the study of families and approaches to working with them. It has guided research in various areas, including understanding the effects of traumatic events or chronic health issues on individuals and families, intervention and treatment methods for substance abuse, and affinity networks. GST has provided a valuable perspective that has led to a deeper understanding of families. However, critics argue that certain aspects, such as gender inequality, are not fully articulated or addressed within GST.

In patriarchal societies, where power lies mainly with men, there is no assumption of equality of influence between men and women. Critics argue that this inequality is often unnoticed or subtle (Goldner, 1989). The application of FST to issues of family violence has been criticized (Yllo, 1993). For example, a systems perspective on family violence will focus on the family dynamics that contribute to the violence, and less attention is given to the characteristics, motives, and attitudes of the perpetrator. Critics argue that the use of FST in this area can lead to the

perception of a shared responsibility for violence between the victim and culprit, and less accountability by the culprit for their actions (Constatine, 1993).

Christian healers often have to "swim upstream" against the Gay & Lesbian rights groups which have deeply infiltrated our society and are inconsistent with Biblical teaching. Homosexuality is treatable in the same way as other sexual addictions. Organizations like Exodus, with their numerous individual counseling centers, offer hope to those caught up in this addiction.

Tammi Wilds, a pupil of Willcox, is the decision maker for the ministry "New Hearts Outreach" in Tampa, which offers ongoing aid to victims and their families for "Reparative Therapy" (Wilds, 2007-2010). This type of therapy is considered taboo in secular Family Systems Textbooks and should not be ignored or underestimated. Differences in family systems have become apparent over the years. According to William Flemming (2010), the communications model focuses on analyzing communication patterns within family systems, including inputs, outputs, and consistency in explaining communication patterns in both functional and dysfunctional families. This theoretical model was influenced by the work of Gregory Bateson, Don Jackson, Paul Watzlawik, and others at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto (Watzlawick, 1979). In contrast, Salvador Minuchin (Minuchin, 1974) has focused on the spatial aspects of families in his work with FST. This approach emphasizes examining the social contexts and structures within which families exist and how they interact with these contexts and structures.In another country, the challenges to FST involve recognizing and integrating the growing importance of genetics and neurobiology in shaping personality traits and individual behavior.

Other challenges to FST involve understanding cultural and broader contextual factors that impact families. The incorporation

of FST into the field of medicine, the consideration of cultural diversity, and broader systems demonstrate its ongoing usefulness.

Chapter Three

Bowenian Transgenerational Systems Theory A ( p. 31-68 Green book )

The Second Overarching MFT Concept Explained - Cyberneticss

Therapeutic intervention with individuals within their family settings originated in the mid-twentieth century. Several therapists, including John Elderkin Bell, Nathan Ackerman, and John Bowlby, independently began including family members in individual therapy sessions.

In the early ages, theories of family therapy were influenced by previous ideas from Kurt Lewin's field theory, commonly used in group settings, and Alfred Adler's Child Guidance Movement. Adler suggested that abnormal psychology begins in childhood and can potentially be treated through family involvement. However, the inspiration for FST came from the cybernetic revolution in science.

The Cybernetic Revolution

Thomas Kuhn explains how science evolves through discontinuous leaps of knowledge, where new conceptual perspectives replace older ideologies. Family systems therapy represents a paradigm shift in psychology, following Kuhn's framework. Before family systems therapy emerged, the primary therapeutic model available was psychoanalysis, which relied on individual analysis and a transferential therapist-client relationship. Transference is the process where emotions associated with one person, such as a parent, are unconsciously displaced onto the clinical analyst.

The dominant forces that control human behavior, as recorded in the Old Testament and other scriptures, have historically been attributed to societies, households, and not individuals. Prior to the emergence of Family Systems Therapy (FST) in the 1960s, therapists followed the teachings of Freud, which focused on exploring neurotic symptoms and practicing a form of isolative therapy. This approach was founded on the belief that family members would interfere with the healing process. Most professional clinicians before

the 1960s were trained within institutions that strongly supported this psychoanalytic treatment model. FST incorporated principles from cybernetics, introduced by Norbert Wiener, and General Systems Theory (GST), as explained by Ludwig von Bertalanffy. Cybernetics, derived from a Greek word meaning "the art of maneuvering," refers to the study of communication and control processes in biological and mechanical systems. GST emphasizes the complexity and interconnectedness of relationships within a system. Systems are made up of interdependent parts that interact through feedback mechanisms and ultimately create an emergent whole.

The combination of cybernetic and systems theory, alongside solid Biblical Integrationist Counseling (BIC), has led to a new understanding of communication and the interconnectedness of human interaction. As Christian healers, it is important for us to acknowledge the role we have played in this movement. FST (Family Systems Theory) ensures that the history of each significant contributor to the development of their theory is continued. Esteemed Christian leaders such as Richard Foster, Larry Crabb, Everett Worthington, Josh McDowell, Diane Langberg, Harold Waking, Timothy Clinton, George Ohlschlager, and Gloria Willcox are recognized for their contributions and included in our historical accounts.

Communication Processes Research dealing with Cybernetics

In the mid-twentieth century, under the guidance of Gregory Bateson, the Mental Research Institute (MRI Brief) initiated research on communication processes, which served as the theoretical foundation for various schools of family therapy. These include communication theory, interactional theory, brief therapy, and strategic therapy. Bateson, an anthropologist with interests in animal behavior, learning theory, and evolutionary ecology, successfully merged cybernetic theory with anthropology.

The Bateson Projects and MRI squad in Palo Alto, California included John Weakland, Jay Haley, Don Jackson, Virginia Satir, Richard Fisch, Paul Watzlawick,

and William Fry. According to Bateson and his colleagues, all behavior is a form of bilateral communication; the rules of human interaction are not always clear to the person receiving the message as the person sending the message intended. To understand individual psychology, one must therefore study the person's social context. Therapy should focus on the interactive patterns of behavior among family members rather than solely on the client's individual mind. The initial focus of research for the MRI team was on patients with some form of schizophrenia.

Before the emergence of awareness about mental illnesses, the Bateson team observed several illogical patterns of interaction within families affected by schizophrenia. They concluded that these connections were responsible for the development of abnormal psychology. Bateson proposed that individuals with schizophrenia engage in a "double-bind situation," which is a communication pattern where contradictory messages are sent to a person without any logical resolution. (An example of a double bind is when someone challenges their partner to "be spontaneous," but the very demand prevents spontaneity. If the person complies, they are not truly being spontaneous.) In 1956, Bateson and his colleagues published a groundbreaking article expanding on this concept titled "Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia."

Despite being discredited as an explanation for schizophrenia, this theory is still significant because it served as a foundation for the development of clinical theories on family dynamics. The Explicitly Christian Psychotherapy Seminar, which started in 1982 in St. Petersburg, Florida, has always embraced these fundamental principles. Gloria Willcox believes that there are numerous other groups worldwide that prioritize Jesus in their work with guidance from the Holy Spirit.Bowen's concept of de-triangulation explores the utilization

of the Psychological Game Triangle (Persecutor, Victim, and Rescuer) and the angler chart image in depicting our reactions to interpersonal dynamics. It highlights how we can either succumb to the manipulation or choose to swim past it. Clients feel empowered realizing that regardless of how enticing the "worms" on the hook may be, they are ultimately responsible for whether they take the bait. The "Rule of Three" further helps clients understand that if they repeatedly give in to the manipulation, they risk becoming trapped and facing dire consequences. This concept aligns with Experiential Family Therapy (EFT) and Virginia Satir's work, like her "parts party" approach that assigns names to the different voices in our minds, akin to the roles in the Game Triangle (e.g., criticizer, nurturer, rascal, savior, mind, victim). The same connection can be drawn when applying the Game Triangle in relation to Miniscript Theory, which allows clients to recognize their agency in refusing to take the bait. Nonetheless, this is not a simple task, and it necessitates relying on a higher power. A depiction of a Roman Soldier wearing full armor symbolizes the need for daily spiritual preparation before engaging with the challenges of the world. For Sally, who frequently feels inferior and unsuccessful in achieving her goals within a reasonable time frame, she is once again confronted with her lingering insecurities.When the 3rd large worm is on the hook, Ted finds himself facing the familiar obstacle of not having his needs met, not feeling fulfilled, and not being adequate. This situation sets them both into the "Power Struggle Stage," with Sally quickly moving to her "One Upper Stage," where she accuses him

of being a "no good lazy rotter," just as her mother warned her. Ted feels the impact of her anger, responding in his usual hopeless way by escaping the conversation with an indifferent "Oh well, WHATEVER!" Sally then retreats to the bed and falls into a pile of hopeless tears, reminiscing about another ruined weekend from her childhood when she didn't complete her tasks on time. Meanwhile, Ted tries to go outside to enjoy the ballgame in the backyard, disregarding the weeding, trimming, and fertilizing tasks that have been neglected for weeks. He wonders why he can't enjoy the game and contemplates the uneventful weekend ahead, as his failure to please Sally leads her to avoid him and seek solace in her room. Sally sees Ted as just like his lazy father, subconsciously linking him to a multigenerational pattern as she recalls how her mother used to call her favorite dad a "LAZY BUM"!In this mechanical engagement Miniscript, one can observe their own pathology at play. It is a desire for everyone to have a good Christian counselor or a friend who they can trust to "Swim by the come-on". Bowen also utilizes intervention techniques that emphasize the therapist's active, personal, relational skills in teaching how our beliefs impact emotions, understanding, and reactions to unconscious material.

( See Chapter 1 in Willcox 's `` Feelingss '' book ) .A He also teaches how body languageA and voice tone convey 90 three per centum of our communication.A Exemplifying this with the `` Apples and Oranges '' game is a fun and easy way to remember this important skill in `` swimming past come-on '' .

Major Concepts

in Contextual Family Therapy

Dr. Boszormenyi-Nagy trained as a psychoanalyst in the field of psychiatry.A His model emphasizes equity and using accounting principles in human psychology.A He founded the Family Center at the Eastern Pennsylvanian Psychiatric Center in 1957.A Relational Ethics is the key force that keeps families and communities together through trust and fairness between individuals. Willcox believes that only through the power of Christ and forgiveness is this possible.A We are all sinners and therefore motivated by self-interest rather than caring for others.

Cohorts of households are bound together by the bequests they receive from interactions within them. Each individual has entitlements that are based on what is fair. They each keep a ledger where they track the relative balance of debts and entitlements. The emotional well-being of individuals depends on there being a positive balance between repaying debts to the household and achieving self-realization (p. 47 Green Book). One of the challenges for Christian healers using Collaborative FST concepts is our multicultural society. As part of the assessment process, we must examine our own cultural biases and consider the region from which our own Family of Origin originates. Dr. Willcox vividly recalls racial biases in two parts of the country over sixty years ago. Growing up in rural Illinois, where there were only six non-Caucasian students in my school during my Jr. High and Sr. High years, provides me with a much different perspective compared to that of my spouse.

He grew up in Jacksonville, FL, a city where racial biases were prevalent. Black and white people were separated into different schools and had segregated facilities such as restrooms and drinking fountains. They also had

separate motels in designated areas of the town. The person speaking was shocked when they started dating him and saw how he was cautious when driving through a poor neighborhood, staying on the main street and locking the car doors. Nowadays, things have changed significantly in the twenty-first century. The authors' backgrounds have shaped their perspectives. Myke, who is mixed race with American Indian and African American heritage, has a light complexion and is influenced by his cultural background in the southwest. In his school, there were more people of Spanish and Mexican descent along with a significant population of American Indians. On the other hand, Dr. Sykes has spent most of his life in the urban Tampa Bay area. It was a significant change for him to go to New Jersey to pursue his doctorate degree at Drew University. According to the U.S. Census agency, it is projected that by the year 2050;The population in the United States will consist primarily of people of colour. Additionally, the baby boomer generation, who are now retiring, are collecting from Social Security rather than contributing to it. This is putting a strain on the financial stability of the next generation of people of colour, as they try to support pension plans. Furthermore, there has been a severe economic depression similar to the one in the early thirties. Despite efforts such as bailouts and stimulus programs by President Obama, the unemployment rate continues to dangerously rise.

Over the course of more than ten years, multiculturalism has emerged as the "fourth force" in counseling and psychotherapy. This shift encompasses both empirical and spiritual dimensions, with some contending that multiculturalism itself

represents a paradigm shift. According to Jesus' teachings, one of the greatest commandments is to "love your neighbor as yourself" [I]. This principle is reflected in the Christian value expressed through the children's Sunday school song, "red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight" (Woolston, 1910).

Now let's explore some specific cultural issues for a few paragraphs. African Americans face powerlessness leading to anger and fear, a high risk of incarceration for males, a dominant female matriarchal system, white-collar job limitations, substance abuse, and general animosity towards whites. Latinos experience a strong sense of family loyalty, oppressive male dominance, intergroup conflicts, and intense ethical pressure to display self-discipline. American Indians often deal with isolation on reserves, substance abuse, high rates of fetal alcohol syndrome and child abuse, Earth worship practices, concerns for the elderly's well-being, initiation rights for boys into adulthood, and marginalization particularly in the Southwest.European/Germanic civilization is characterized by a strong work ethic and a tendency to deny personal feelings. They value household loyalty, emphasize male dominance, and display intolerance towards other cultural groups.

In Italian/Spanish civilizations, there is also a strong emphasis on male dominance and a patriarchal society. Their household systems are closely connected, as depicted in the Godfather trilogy, and women are expected to be subservient. However, there is more tolerance towards extra-marital affairs by their partners.

When working in the field of healthcare, it is important to consider the expression of different cultural groups in the population you serve. Take time to meet with other healers to review your practices and collectively address any multicultural issues that arise.

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