Each time a patient is seeking professional treatment, the biggest
challenge, is finding a physician using suitable treatment approach.
Patients have an undefined chemistry that helps them in determining
suitability of one expert over the other. A doctor can be suitable to
one patient, and unsuitable to another since critical factors such as
theoretical orientation and clinical style make treatment styles doctors
use with their patients vary significantly. In many cases, patients
seeking specialized therapists end up visiting practitioners recommended
to by relatives, friends or their current doctor. However, therapists
recommended therapists might sometimes fail to be effective, in spite of
the fact that these individuals could be suffering from a similar
condition. This difference comes about because therapists use unique
theoretical orientations. As doctors are undergoing training, they learn
how various problems develops and suitable strategies for treating them.
The concept of understanding how these problems develop, and the way
they are best treated, are collectively known as therapists’
theoretical orientation (Mozdzierz et al, 2009). The theory offers a
framework for organizing treatment approach and possible ways the
doctors will interact with their patients. Some examples of theoretical
orientations physicians use include feminist, EMDR (Eye Movement
Desensitizing and Reprocessing), narrative, integrative, dialectical and
cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic and psychoanalytic. However,
this research will focus on family theoretical orientation.
Basic view of human nature
Family therapy is also called marriage and family therapy, couple ad
family therapy, family counseling, and family systems therapy. This
treatment approach is a section of psychotherapy thus, it is more
suitable with couples in romantic relationships and families as it
enhances transformation and development. The treatment approach takes
the treatment process as a collection of interactions among family
members. Doctors using this approach stress on the significance of
family relationships in order for a patient to attain stable
psychological health (Kahn, 2001). This implies that therapists using
this treatment approach consider an entire family as a client in need of
specialized medical care. Normally, therapists bring family members
together, either in one setting or at different stages so that they can
discuss on ways they can improve family unit functioning (Mozdzierz et
al, 2009). The intention of family therapy is reducing distress through
improving relationships of individuals. Doctors practicing family
therapies evaluate diverse interaction patterns in a family, and then
invite its members in a place where he or she can recommend them to try
new behaviors so that they can amend the system.
Key factors that account for changes in behavior
Some of the factors that help in introducing behavioral include
counseling. Therapists train patients on strategies they can use to
change their behaviors for better. Counselors base their treatment on
the nature of families individuals come from, and aspect of change an
individual of family requires adopting in order to enhance their
relationships. In addition, some therapists evaluate and re-order family
organization system in order to incorporate patients with people who can
offer him or her moral support. In other cases, the treatment aims at
changing the manner in which family members interact within a family
setting. This approach is called strategic approach since it aims at
ensuring that all family members are in good terms (Mozdzierz et al,
2009). For doctors using Milan or systematic family therapy, they
normally target on changing the belief of patients and their family
members. For instance, family members who believe they cannot become
wealthy, as all other families in the past have been poor may require
being convinced that their family history cannot affect their present
success if they follow a given path. Each time an individual’s belief
regarding his or her personal history changes, their attitude towards
life and their family changes for the better (Franklin, 2012).
Discussing various issues affecting patients also account for behavior
changes in family orientation therapy. Doctors often seek to separate an
individual with the family problem through discussion. Lastly,
transgenerational treatment is helps to discourage people from
practicing awkward patterns of behaviors and beliefs.
Designing intervention strategies
In situations where parents in a family are a cause of a problem, a
therapist should design a treatment approach that seeks to promote their
treatment objectives. The therapists should try to help parents develop
even small changes that could help to promote working relationship. In
addition, therapists might decide to use individualized intervention
approach in case both extrafammilial (neighborhood, family-school and
peer) and intrafamilia (relatives, parent-child, marital). This
treatment approach establishes reasons that could be making individual
inappropriate behaviors. This may include factors such as substance
abuse (Mozdzierz et al, 2009). Procedures such as detoxification and
individual counseling can help an individual to recover gradually.
According to Franklin (2012), therapists should motivate and connect
with the youth. This helps to suppress extreme negativity coming from an
individual’s family such as blaming. Many patients experience negative
experiences from their families such as abandonment, cultural isolation,
deprivation and abuse. This intervention process is also called
Functional Family Therapy (FFT), and it appreciates and integrates the
strength of emotional power into triumphantly engaging and motivating
patients through positive reattribution, respect and sensitivity
strategies. Lastly, an intervention process can include changing problem
status through enhancing capacity of a given family to use multisystemic
community resources sufficiently and to harness various relapse
prevention techniques (Franklin, 2012).
Conceptualization of mental health in family therapy orientation
In mental family therapy, physicians seek to evaluate the way people’s
instant thoughts, emotions and behavior affect their reactions. The most
commonly applied theory is cognitive behavioral therapy. The
psychologists help patients to overcome their mental challenges through
altering their emotional, thinking and behavior responses. Patients also
learn how to recognize and adjust their twisted perceptions towards
other people, their families and themselves (Mozdzierz et al, 2009).
During this treatment process, therapists monitor family and friend
contacts a patient has. Through evaluating behaviors of these people, a
practitioner can understand some patients’ characteristics that may
require modification. According to Lowe (2004), family therapists host
meetings with the patients’ family members since they require
constructive and collaborative information from these people. During
these meetings, health experts discuss their concern on the relationship
between family members and the patient. Moreover, physicians undertake
the task of training family members on strategies for handling the
patient in order to reduce negativism that may lead to mental issues
(Kahn, 2001). For instance, families that alienate their loved ones
because of their poor economic status, race or health learn to give
unconditional love to these patients. This treatment therapy is also
based on motivating patients to withstand weaknesses that can enhance
their mental suffering, such as, homelessness and substance abuse.
Key factors that contribute to healthy family/couple relationships
Establishing healthy family relationships is a challenging process that
extends to an individual’s family background to their present
behaviors. Smith (2011) asserts that nurturing and attachment are one of
the major positive attributes that enhance family ties. Children’s
emotional, physical and health development start growing once they learn
to trust their parents will provide them with essential requirements.
The trust children learn from their childhood is crucial for helping
them to trust their spouses and extended family members. All family
relations are based on faith that other family members will meet their
end of bargain a relationship. Children raised by abusive parents lack
attachment skills hence, they hardly have healthy couple of
relationships. Another key factor for a healthy relationship is the
ability for solving disagreements and forgiving wrongdoings of the loved
ones (Hecker & Wetchler, 2003). The relationships’ of both couple and
families experience disagreements that can disintegrate them unless
these individuals are able to discuss and solve their differences.
Third, families should allocate time for relaxing and spending together.
According to Hecker and Wetchler (2003), couples should spend valuable
time regularly. This enables them to learn the likes and dislikes of
each other as well as, strengthen their connection through sharing
things that they mutually adore. Couples that share life philosophies
such as priorities and values make healthy relationships. This is
because they rarely disagree on issues concerning friends, children and
Family therapy counseling process
Family therapy counseling targets community groups, individuals,
families and couples. This treatment integrates social and systemic
approaches, as well as, other valuable people in the treatment process.
The practitioners believe that human behaviors develop within cultural,
family and social contexts. This therapy aims at understanding the
behaviors, thought and feelings interconnection across community,
family, global, societal and individual systems. This involves
recognizing individual genetic, psychological and physiological factors
as well as, family and other association interaction systems. This
treatment approach emphasizes on understanding how relational factors,
such as, sexual orientation, race, talents, social class, country of
origin and language interrelate when maintaining systems of privilege
and power. Practitioners host meetings with family members and encourage
them to share their experiences in order to understand the main cause of
the problem. In many cases, family therapy counselors might include
psychiatric nurses, clinical social workers, family and marriage
therapists, psychologists and pastoral counselors. The aim of these
professionals is providing a platform where families and married couples
can express themselves freely. The neutral ground counselors hold help
them to settle conflicts and disputes that threaten to disintegrate
their relationship. The objective of family, couple and marriage
counseling, include, improving bad habits among couples, building or
rebuilding trust, evaluate big issues, teach couples to communicate and
disagreeing effectively (Mozdzierz et al, 2009).
Techniques used across the counseling process
In family and couple counseling, therapists aim at understanding the
behaviors of both partners, then advising them on possible flaws that
they should improve in order to enhance unity. Counselors take a neutral
position and analyze exchanges of the two partners. This way, an
experienced practitioner, can identify factors that influence an
interaction negatively and improve it. The purpose of this process is
helping couples to fathom the characters and emotions of their partners,
their personal feelings and behaviors, and the negative and positive
effects of their relations (Smith, 2011).
Another technique used in the counseling process is evaluating
dysfunctional behavior of a couple and correcting it. Therapists
evaluate the way couples interact, and then recommend suitable
strategies that can help them develop stable relationships. This process
entails investigating risks that a person may experience from
dysfunctional surroundings. If the environment does not expose an
individual to extreme risk, therapists recommend steps that patients can
undertake to prevent the situation from escalating to a dangerous level
(Smith, 2011). On the contrary, counselors may establish steps for
reducing the severity of a risk in case the dysfunctional environment
jeopardizes the patients’ relationships.
Marriage counseling also helps in minimizing emotional avoidance, which
is common in marriages. This situation develops when couples fail to
communicate their feelings. Since emotional avoidance, make couples’
emotions drift apart, therapists encourage couples to communicate in
order to resolve their differences (Smith, 2011).
Lastly, couple counseling involves identifying and improving the
strengths of a marriage. The counselors evaluate the weaknesses of a
marriage and employ appropriate solutions. For example, therapists can
incorporate extended family members in order to help them understand the
patients and nature of support they require in order to overcome their
personal challenges (Smith, 2011). This process helps couples to the way
they interact, communicate and behave.
The nature of the counselor-client relationship and its relative
The counselor-client relationship is formal. This implies that there is
a power imbalance Physicians have authority over their patients because
they have skills and experience required for addressing problems
affecting patients. In addition, client-counselor relationship needs
high trust. This enables clients to share confidential information with
the professionals. A counselor cannot offer professional services unless
clients open up and share their problems.
The professional relationship is essential because it helps to maintain
ethical boundaries between therapists and patients. Therapists have
higher power than clients do in that they have the ability to help their
patients. On the same note, patients develop high trust that enables
them to reveal their personal information. Therapists can abuse this
information by revealing it to other people or even take advantage of
client’s trust through engaging in sexual behaviors. According to Kahn
(2001), the professional relationship gives the counselor a fiduciary
responsibility, such that, therapists takes the blame for unethical
practices such as sexual contact with clients. In many circumstances,
clients are vulnerable to manipulation by their therapists because they
might not know the ethical boundaries or even existence of professional
boundaries. This implies that they could start behaviors that violates
professional boundary. This relationship helps in ensuring that clients
will not compromise ethics even in case of dual-relationships, where
therapists are helping friends or relatives to solve their problems.
The role of the marriage, couple, and family counselor
One of the key roles of these counselors is training clients in
effective communication strategies. Couples in new relationships have
effective communication, but they gradually drift apart socially due to
routine stress as expectations of jobs and raising children increase.
Counselors help these people in establishing communication lines that
can help couples understand each other and overcome factors that can
undermine development of a stable relationship. Effective communication
makes it possible for a couple to disagree on an issue without
quarrelling. Couples disagree on many things, but unless they learn how
to communicate their rejection reasons, this could lead to constant
fighting (Gurman, 2008).
The counselors should also help clients in discovering cause of their
relationship problems as well as, efficient solutions for solving the
issues. Examples of problems that clients can have may include past
issues such as fear of abandonment or present challenges such as
unfaithfulness. As a relationship grows older, couples start developing
undesirable behaviors such as lack of communication and becoming upset
by insignificant matters. The affected partners may not realize this is
a cause of disagreements in their relationships, but a trained counselor
can evaluate and recommend suitable strategies for addressing the
problem (Gurman, 2008). Therapists solve the problem by helping their
clients in addressing the problem in a controlled environment.
Lastly, family therapists help clients in either building or rebuilding
trust in the relationship. This service is critical for a couple that
had separated or vulnerable to divorce due to assorted relationship
challenges such as violence, infidelity and financial strains. Teyber
(1999) claims that therapists can keep increasing the methods they use
for building trust among clients over time. The treatment process aims
at preventing divorces, abuse of partners and inflicting suffering on
An explanation of the relationship between your individual theory and
your couple/family theory
An individual theory focus on personal characteristics people develops
in order to achieve given ambitions. Both humanistic and individual
psychology claims that individual humans are the best vantage to
determine their growth, desires, interests and personal needs. On the
other hand, couple/family theory asserts that the environment of a
person contributes in determining behavior of clients. These theories
are related in that individual behaviors affect a person’s immediate
physical environment, which in turn, affect others. Gerhart and Rynes
(2003) argue that Adler’s compensation, overcompensation and defeat
theories explain how individual theories can influence family therapy.
Adler contended that external factors primarily determine people’s
characters. For instance, when a person experiences disadvantages, their
ambition becomes creating solutions for overcoming the challenges.
People who manage to solve the problems become successful and social.
Similarly, the resignation theory asserts that some people reconcile
with the challenges thus, they do not strive to solve them. Lastly,
others are too indulged in the idea of compensating for their weaknesses
to the extent of using all means to achieve their ambitions. The
individual reaction of people to the disadvantages determines their
relationship with their loved ones significantly. Family therapists
consider behaviors of immediate family members, of their clients, and
develop strategies for helping them overcome various challenges such as
overindulging in moneymaking chores in order to gain financially
stability on the expense of having a broken family (Teyber, 1999).
The individual and family theories are congruent because they assert
that the external environment influences clients’ behaviors. In
addition, they agree that controlling the external environment can help
to reduce negativism an individual is experiencing. Family therapists
listens to the challenges their clients are experiencing, then
identifies people that can help patients to overcome the problems such
as spouses, relatives and friends. Doctors invite these individuals in
the counseling session, where they can discuss the problem in detail,
and develop a support strategy that will help clients to refrain from
engaging in behaviors that could deteriorate their situation (Gerhart &
An explanation of couple therapy and procedures of your approach
Couple therapy refers to a form of psychotherapy that attempts to
identify and settle disputes as well as, improve communication between
spouses. The counseling helps clients to evaluate whether they have a
chance for reconstructing their relationship or terminating it.
Certified marriage and family therapists are in charge of giving this
service. These experts may have a graduate or post graduate degrees.
Moreover, the experts may decide to seek endorsement from the American
Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). The treatment is
designed to suit the requirements of married couples of people in
romantic relationships. The counseling is also suitable to people in
heterosexual, lesbian, transgender and homosexual relationships (Gurman,
2008). However, this approach is unsuitable for solving disputes among
people connected by different forms of family bonds such as mother and
Couple therapy focuses on improving communication efficiency. In some
cases, relationships may be experiencing strained communication that
leaves one partner feeling disregarded, insecure, depressed and wanting
to withdraw. Couple therapists seek to train couples on techniques that
they can exchange ideas without hurting each other’s emotions.
Moreover, this approach aims at rebuilding trust among clients (Gurman,
2008). In case one of the partners has cheated or is intending to
looking for a romantic relationship outside marriage, couple counseling
can help these people to solve their differences. This is common,
especially, when a couple is staying together for the sake of children.
Couple therapy also aims at training clients on suitable strategies for
solving their differences. According to family therapists, some couples
fight because they lack efficient skills for settling their differences.
A section of the counselor appointment aims at helping clients learn to
do things that can help to rebuild their trust and love for each other.
Once these clients discover efficient methods of coping with their
differences, settling disputes becomes easy (Gurman, 2008).
Lastly, couple therapy targets helping clients overcome past differences
and anger. In case one partner has cheated in the relationship,
overcoming this pain can be rather challenging. Counselors train clients
on methods that can help suppress the pain of a partner cheating in a
relationship (Gurman, 2008).
Family theory intervention in domestic violence
The purpose of this program is counseling both victims of and culprits
of domestic violence. In the recent past, people had a misconception
that women are on the receiving end on domestic violence. Nevertheless,
the latest research shows that men from all ages are also affected by
the problem. According to McCue (2008), 3.2 million and 1.9 million
women experience physical assault yearly. In addition, the researcher
asserts that present boyfriend, spouse, cohabiting partner, date or
girlfriend physically beats 7.4% men and 22.1% women respectively. The
objective of family theory intervention is reducing domestic violence in
the United States. According to the 2001 U.S Department of Justice
Report, spouses or partners have physically beaten, above 50% of
homeless women and 60% of Native American women (Gurman, 2008).
Features of domestic violence family therapy
One of the characteristics of family therapy on domestic violence is
that it aims at addressing various issues such as sexual assault,
willful intimidation, battery and physical assault among other abusive
tendencies committed by one romantic partner on another person. Clients
seeking this service come from all communities irrespective of their
religion, social economic class, educational background, and religion.
Physical abuse on women is accompanied by controlling behavior and
emotionally abusive thus, it is a systemic model of dominance and
control (McCue, 2008). Therapists help clients to adopt strategies that
can prevent them from causing physical harm to others.
The treatment could address diverse domestic abuse issues. This implies
that physical assault is not the sole major issues couple therapy
addresses. Other challenges the treatment solves include stalking,
sexual violation, breaking trust, threats, pressure and harassment such
as stalking (McCue, 2008).
In other cases, the physical therapy can aim at addressing various
issues that might make an individual a threat. Family therapists
identify people vulnerable to engaging in physical assault through
evaluating the background of a patient (McCue, 2008). For instance,
people with history of abusive relationships, people who lose temper
because of minor issues, they make decisions without consulting the
victim and people who are verbally abusive to their family.
Lastly, therapists have a fiduciary responsible to enforce ethics when
helping a client. For example, a practitioner should not share
confidential information concerning their clients. Teyber (1999) asserts
that counselors should refrain from engaging in personal business or
sexual contact with their clients. Doctors can lose their practice
license for engaging in such unethical behaviors, in spite of the fact
that, patients could have instigated the romance.
Couple therapy efficiency
The efficicincy of couple therapy becomes effective when the objective
of the treatment is altering the nature of the relationship. Family
counselors help patients to understand weaknesses in their marriage and
address them efficiently, instead of blame shifting their problems to
others (Mozdzierz et al, 2009).
In addition, therapists can enhance the efficiency of this treatment
approach through incorporating tactics for decreasing dysfunctional
behavior. The treatment should attempt to alter the manner in which
patients relate with each other. This helps in to prevent the occurrence
of both psychological and physical damage (Mozdzierz et al, 2009).
Similarly, efficient treatment should also seek to reinforce the
strengths of a relationship. Just like every relationship always have a
weakness, couples also have strengths that therapists can evaluate and
promote patients to improve on them in order to make their relationship
resistant against pressures. These strengths may include improving
communication, seeking common activities and allocating time that they
should spend together among other things (Mozdzierz et al, 2009).
Franklin, C. (2012). Theories and methods of family intervention. Web.
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Family Therapy. Psychology Press.
Smith, C. (2011). Five factors for a healthy family. Kirtland Airforce
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Kahn, M. (2001). Between therapist and client: The new relationship. New
York: Henry Holt and Co.
Teyber, E. (1999). Interpersonal process in psychotherapy: A relational
approach. Belmont, Calif: Brooks/Cole.
Gerhart, B. A., & Rynes, S. (2003). Compensation: Theory, evidence, and
strategic implications. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage.
McCue, M. L. (2008). Domestic violence: A reference handbook. Santa
Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.
Mozdzierz, G. J., Peluso, P. R., & Lisiecki, J. (2009). Principles of
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Gurman, A. S. (2008). Clinical handbook of couple therapy. New York:
FAMILY THEORETICAL ORIENTATION PAGE * MERGEFORMAT 2
FAMILY THEORETICAL ORIENTATION 1
Each time a patient is seeking professional treatment, the biggest