Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay

Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay
Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay
Although structural therapy and strategic therapy are both used in family therapy, these therapeutic approaches have many differences in theory and application. As you assess families and develop treatment plans, you must consider these differences and their potential impact on clients. For this Assignment, as you compare structural and strategic family therapy, consider which therapeutic approach you might use with your own client families.
Learning Objectives

Students will:

Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy

Create structural family maps

Justify recommendations for family therapy

To prepare:

Review this week’s Learning Resources and reflect on the insights they provide on structural and strategic family therapies.

Refer to Gerlach (2015) in this week’s Learning Resources for guidance on creating a structural family map.

The Assignment

In a 2- to 3-page paper, address the following:
Summarize the key points of both structural family therapy and strategic family therapy.

Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy, noting the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Provide an example of a family in your practicum using a structural family map. Note: Be sure to maintain HIPAA regulations.

Recommend a specific therapy for the family, and justify your choice using the Learning Resources.
Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay
Structural and Strategic Family Therapies sample essay
Structural and Strategic Family Therapies
Family therapy is a significant component of psychotherapy aimed at investigating and instigating appropriate changes for the welfare of a family. Although therapists have a wide array of models to employ in their work, a greater emphasis and theoretical development have focused on structural and strategic therapy models. Consequently, this paper provides an analysis of the two models highlighting their underlying similarities and differences, finally, an example and justification of one model application will be provided.
Structural family therapy
Structural family therapy is premised on refining self-esteem among individuals and family networks. According to Nichols and Tafuri (2013), a structural model emphasizes on intervention techniques aimed primarily at changing the family members perception in diagnosing and treating the dysfunction. Further, Williams, (2016)), argues that in a diagnosis an underlying dysfunction, a therapist can utilize a family structure map to determine the root cause, after which an integrative therapeutic approach is initiated. In this regard, structural family therapy entails analyzing how interactions between family members fuel a specific dysfunction and realign the family perception. The fundamental tenet of this model is that by retaining a balance in the structural interaction, the problem is solved. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay.
Strategic family therapy
On the other hand, strategic family therapy is centered on a planned problem-solving approach to address a dysfunction. According to Lindstrom, Filges, and Jorgensen (2015), in addressing the underlying problem, the model embarks in the provision of directives, which assist in diagnosing the condition. Moreover, the family members are involved in facilitating a behavioral change in the victim by eliminating unfavorable contacts. In the case of a relapse in maladaptive interactions, Lindstrom, Filges, and Jorgensen, 2015 observes that the patients’ relatives are advised to engage in pernicious behaviors thus facilitating improved interactions
Models Compared
In comparison, the two models are centered on facilitating behavioral change, improved communication, and elimination of dysfunctional interactions through the family network. As such, the main objective of both models is the elimination of maladaptive practice affecting an individual and their families. Moreover, Schwartz, Muir and Brown, (2012) observe that both models although employing different techniques, they objectively change the family structure thus maintaining the appropriate family balance. However, Sheehan, and Friedlander (2015), argue that while the models might harbor similarities, it is the role of the family therapist to determine the model of choice while diagnosing and solving the problem. Finally, Schwartz, Muir and Brown, (2012), that both models have been used effectively to address behavioral problems among the youths.
Key Differences and weakness
The key difference in both models revolves around the approach employed in facilitating a change in the family system. According to Schwartz, Muir and Brown (2012), structural family planning is focused on changing the dysfunctional family structure. However, the model has been criticized as disregarding the basic family structure in nuclear families. On the other hand, strategic family planning centers on a relational strategy in enacting a family change which has been criticized as narrow, and limiting the freedom of the families involved
Example of a family in practicum using a structural family map
A case in example to explore the application of family therapy is provided below. Employing the structural family map, the case can be presented as shown in below.

In this regard, the family hierarchy seemed mixed up with the mother seemingly highly involved albeit a controlling child, however, although the father was available there was little or no cooperation among the parents. However, the underlying problem was that the parents had been unable to control their teenage son who had developed outrageous behavior, including taking drugs skipping school and petty theft habits. Additionally, their older son was highly perturbed by the indiscipline of her sister and was always in conflict with her. Further, the son had elevated his domination and had started criticizing the parents for their inability to foster discipline. Apparently, the father had resigned placing the blame on the mother for the daughter’s actions.
Therapy Recommendation For the family
The best therapeutic approach for this case would be the structural family therapy. According to Sheehan, and Friedlander (2015), The efficacy of structural family therapy emanates from its ability to allow a therapist to incorporate case specific creativity while retaining the core therapy needs. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay. As such, this model capitalizes on the structure of the family interactions while continually enhancing necessary changes until the optimal results are obtained.
Justification of the model
The structural therapy model is most suited for our case, since it is apparent that the overall relationships between the family members are deeply dented. In this regard, the structural therapy model would successfully rebuild an interdependent relationship between the parents since its core strategy is codified in analyzing how the dysfunction of the family coalitions fuels the underlying problem (Schwartz, Muir & Brown, 2012). Further, since the structural approach involves all the family members in its analysis, it is best suited in cases whereby varying factors may be contributing to the visible problem.
Lindstrom, M., Filges, T., & Jorgensen, A. K. (2014). Brief Strategic Family Therapy for Young People in Treatment for Drug Use. Research on Social Work Practice,25(1), 61-80. doi:10.1177/1049731514530003
Nichols, M., & Tafuri, S. (2013). Techniques of Structural Family Assessment: A Qualitative Analysis of How Experts Promote a Systemic Perspective. Family Process,52(2), 207-215. doi:10.1111/famp.12025. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay.
Schwartz, S. J., Muir, J. A., & Brown, C. H. (2012). Brief strategic family therapy: An intervention to reduce adolescent risk behavior. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice,1(2), 134-145. doi:10.1037/a0029002
Sheehan, A. H., & Friedlander, M. L. (2015). Therapeutic Alliance and Retention in Brief Strategic Family Therapy: A Mixed-Methods Study. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy,41(4), 415-427. doi:10.1111/jmft.12113
Williams, A. E. (2016). The Viability of Structural Family Therapy in the Twenty-first Century: An Analysis of Key Indicators. Contemporary Family Therapy,38(3), 255-261. doi:10.1007/s10591-016-9383-9. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay.

Lesson 5 of 7  – evolve a high-nurturance family

Use Structural Maps to

Manage Your Family WellBasic Premises and ExamplesBy Peter K. Gerlach, MSW

Member, NSRC Experts Council

site intro> course outline, Lesson 5 tasks or links, search, chat, or prior page > here

The Web address of this article is
Updated  09-22-2015
Clicking underlined links here will open a new window. Other links will open  an informational popup, so please turn off your browser’s popup blocker or allow popups from this nonprofit Web site. If your playback device doesn’t support Javascript, the popups may not display. Follow underlined links after finishing this article to avoid getting lost.
This is one of a series of lesson-5 articles on how to evolve a high-nurturance family.The article introduces a powerful tool for understanding how your family is “built” – “structural mapping.” It may look complicated, but if you experiment with it, you’ll find that it’s easy to use.
The article defines family structure, summarizes some basic premises, shows you how to map the structure of any family, and proposes baseline ‘maps” of healthy biological families.. A related article shows how to map typical multi-home stepfamily structures.
This mapping tool can help you answer questions like…
“Who has the power in our home and family, including dead people and non-relatives?”
“Who’s in charge of each of our homes?” Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay.
“Who is aligned and who is conflicted?”
“Is anyone excluded from full family membership? By Whom? Why?”
“Do we have major communication blocks in and between our several homes?”
“How does our family structure react to crises, major conflicts, and membership changes?
This article assumes you’re familiar with…

the intro to this Web site and the premises underlying it
self-improvement Lessons 1 thru 4
these Q&A items on families
these traits of a high-nurturance family
how to make and use a family genogram

  About Family Structure
Here, a family means a group of people with genetic, legal, and social bonds who depend on each other for inclusion, identity, companionship, support, procreation, security and stability. This can include dead and distant relatives, special friends and professional consultants, a Higher Power, neighbors, teachers, coaches, baby sitters, and perhaps influential mentors and media figures. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay.
Structure describes how something is built, like a house, novel, sailboat, or government. Structures range from stable to unstable and effective to flawed, depending on what they’re designed to do. Family structure refers to:

Who’s included and excluded from the family;
Who’s in chargeof each home or group of related homes, if anyone. Whose needs and behaviors cause the main decisions in calm and troubled times?
Relationship bonds and boundaries, or lack of them;
The roles and rules that govern how members’ needs get met – or don’t;
Family-member alliances and antagonisms; and …
Communication blocks in and between people and homes.

Structural mapping is a visual tool. It can help you identify and validate what’s healthyabout your family, and illuminate structural problems that lower your nurturance level. The structural mapping scheme outlined here uses  some basic ideas about family functioning. See if you agree with each of these beliefs, and add your own:
1)  A family’s core purpose is to fill all adults’ and children’s needs. A common key need is for a safe haven, where every member feels consistently accepted, valued, respected, supported, and encouraged to develop and use their unique talents.
Families that don’t fill all their members’ key needs consistently can be called low nurturance or dysfunctional. The more of these factors that exist, the higher the nurturance level. Levels vary over time with structural and environmental changes.
2) The main factors determining a home’s or a family’s nurturance level are…

whether the resident adults are psychologically wounded or not, and…
whether they’re self and mutually aware and knowledgeable;
how healthy the family’s grieving policy is; and…
whether the adults are motivated and able to communicate and problem-solve 

From my clinical experience since 1979, I believe many or most typical adults have survived early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse (trauma), and have inherited significant psychological wounds. Few people – including family-life professionals – are aware of this, and/or they don’t know what it means or what to do about it. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay.

Premise 3) All families experience local or chronic stress over surface issues like these:

family membership(inclusion and exclusion)
boundaries(missing, weak, or rigid; violations; and conflicts)
roles(unclear, unstable, inappropriate, and/or conflicting),
relationship rules and consequences(unclear, conflicting, inconsistent, and appropriate or not);
adapting toand stabilizing after systemic and environmental changes.

      Premise 4) The key relationship in a family that includes minor kids should be between mates, vs. an adult and a child or other adults (like grandparent-parent) or two ex mates. In resolving family problems, mates should consistently put their integrities and wholistic health first, their relationship second, and all else third – except in emergencies.
5)  Family members (like you) can proactively improve their family’s structure and system by taking and applying this online self-improvement course.
Notice your reaction to these premises. If you don’t agree with them, what do youbelieve?
To use this visual tool, your family adults need some…
  Structural-mapping Symbols
Family-structural maps use symbols to show how members relate to each other. In this article, I’ll use the generic letters below. You can use these letters, your family-members’ names or initials, cartoon figures, faces, or any other meaningful symbols.
Be creative: doing these maps can be fun, as well as instructive! Consider using colored markers or pens, too – whatever makes the diagrams clearer for everyone. Try to see the big picture and theme, to minimize getting boggled by all these symbols. Once you try them, they’re surprisingly easy…

Map Symbol
Stands for current nuclear-family member:

P, M , F, …
Living Parent, Mother, and Father

Dead Parent, Mother, Father

MA  FA     MW  FW
Addicted or psychologically-wounded Mother or Father

C1 , C2 ,    T1 , T2  
Dependent (minor) Children and Teens

[P], [M] or [S];
A [dead] or [absent] and still psychologically-important Parent, Mother, or Sibling … (e.g. an aborted, stillborn, or grown child). Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay.

Conflicted Parent and Child

[HP], {God}, [Allah]
The Higher Power/s that significantly influence one or more family members, if any.

R1 , GM, …
Key Relative “1” or a powerful Grandmother, or …

Fr1 , or Pr, or …
Important Friend “1”, or Professional person (priest, counselor, …)

(P or (C
An excluded or rejected Parent or Child.

P1 || P2 
Two parents with ineffective verbal communications.

(P+C1 ) or  (C1+C2)
Psychologically over-involved (enmeshed or codependent) Parent and Child “1”, or enmeshed Children “1” and “2.”

” _  _  _  _  _”
Family responsibility lines. Put people above the line who have the most consistent impact in directing current household residents’ feelings, actions, and attention. Ideally, all resident parents would be always above the line and minor kids below.
       Dashed responsibility lines signify generally open adult-child communications. A solid line means communications are blocked (people above and below the line don’t disclose honestly, hear well, or problem-solve effectively). Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay.

F<<||<>||<>>||<<<   FA ——— Mom has legal and physical custody, and controls her home (is above the line). Arrows show regular child visitation with their addicted Father, who is in charge of his home when the kids come to stay; but communications with his kids are blocked (solid line). Ongoing two-way hostility, poor communications, and conflicts between bioparents, with the kids caught in the middle. No significantly intrusive or dependent relatives       There are many variations of this two-home divorcing biofamily, considering who’s in charge in each home; the numbers, ages, and “parentification” of older kids (i.e. being above the parental responsibility line); the availability and involvement of nurturing kin; and how the “sending” home restructures if some of the kids go visit, but some stay. The custodial bioparent is often overwhelmed, and may “promote” an older child above the line to co-control the home. Or s/he may hire day-care or live-in help (who should be included in the structural map). Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay. If you divorced, what did (or does) your two-home biofamily structure look like? Did (does) it have several structures? Who was in charge of each home when the kids were there? Recap This Lesson-5 article defines “family” and “family structure,” and offers several basic premises about families. It shows typical family-mapping symbols, and illustrates how to diagram (map) the structure of high-nurturance  (functional) and low-nurturance biofamilies. Coupled with family-systems knowledge, structural mapping is a tool that can help healthy, informed adult members visualize and discuss how their nuclear or extended family is “built” – and identify and solve structural problems. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay. If you want to map a multi-home nuclear stepfamily, see this article.       Pause, breathe, and reflect – why did you read this article? Did you get what you needed? If not, what do you need? Who’s answering these questions – your true Self, or ”someone else”?   This article was very helpful  somewhat helpful  not helpful     Prior page / Lesson 5 / Print page site intro  /  course outline  /  site search  /  glossary  /  chat  /  contact Summarize of the key points Structural family therapy Applying unbalancing techniques, aiding individual family members to reframe perceptions, family mapping, joining with the family during sessions, and presenting the dysfunction as a metaphor are core intervention methods employed in structural family therapy (Nichols & Tafuri, 2013). Applying these techniques, a therapist can diagnose the dysfunction and aid the family in restructuring, which allows the process to develop structure and improved esteem within both the individuals and family network (Nichols & Tafuri, 2013). Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay. For example, if a therapist is working with a family that has an addiction problem, he or she may choose to use a family structure map to analyze various coalitions to interpret the underlying cause of the addiction (McAdams et al., 2016; Nichols & Tafuri, 2013). The therapist, in this case, objectifies the addiction to detach it from the affected family member and realigns the spousal coalition to strengthen the family’s center of power to combat the influence of the dependency (Nichols & Tafuri, 2013). Strategic family therapy Strategic family therapy focuses on a set of planned, practical, and problem-focused strategies to address dysfunctional behaviors and familial structures that are associated with or contribute to the underlying problems (Lindstrom, Filges, & Jorgensen, 2015; Szapocznik, Schwartz, Muir, & Brown, 2012). The unique or core fundamental approaches of strategic family therapy include providing directives, assessing ordeals, and therapeutic paradoxes during interventions. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay. A Therapeutic paradox is a tactic used to engage family members to evaluate unfavorable interactions and to redirect efforts into different interactions or behaviors (Lindstrom, Filges, & Jorgensen, 2015). Directives serve as precise instructions for the family members to enact to facilitate change, whereas ordeals are behavioral prescriptions that direct the family to engage in pernicious behaviors when maladaptive interactions return (Lindstrom, Filges, & Jorgensen, 2015; Szapocznik, Schwartz, Muir, & Brown, 2012). BUY A PLAGIARISM-FREE PAPER HERE Models Contrasted and Compared In comparison, the goals of structural and strategic family therapy share similarities of altering the family network via methods of behavior modification, communication enhancement, and disruption and restructuring dysfunctional interactions. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay. In both models, the desired outcome is a change in maladaptive patterns that affect both the individuals and family unit. Assuming that changing the structure to recognize and disrupt dysfunction within the person and the family structure, a proper balance will be achieved and family homeostasis returned. Therapists are usually not dedicated to a particular model. Hybrid therapies like Brief Strategic Family Therapy, which incorporates both structural and strategic theories along with intervention are sound methods to engage families coping with adolescent substance abuse and behavioral dysfunction (Robbins et al., 2012; Szapocznik, Schwartz, Muir, & Brown, 2012). Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay. Key Similarities A fair comparison of the theoretical approaches of both models is the intervention strategies both employ. In both models, key therapeutic techniques include joining with the family system and assisting the family in restructuring the family dynamic. It is important to state that although these models were developed to combat families with dysfunctional youth, therapists have successfully applied both models to clients outside this demographic. Key Differences and weakness In contrast to the similarities both models share, there are also fundamental differences. A primary difference between structural family therapy and strategic family therapy is the method in which each model applies changes to the family system. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay. Structural family therapy models assert that relational interactions become altered by focusing on changing the dysfunctional family structure, whereas strategic family therapy models state that family structure will change organically once the relational strategies become modified. Criticisms Of The structural Theory  De-emphasizes emotional lives • Biases on appropriate family structure that is “western” nuclear family model • Cross Cultural considerations are needed Among the criticisms leveled at strategic therapy are that it involves the taking of too many risks, that it is deceptive, that it is controlling and manipulative, that it is disrespectful, and that it is superficial and narrow. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay.   Family Therapy Introduction The family as the primary socialization agent has the capability to influence the behavior of individual members of the unit. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay. As such, therapists in recognition of this fact have developed various therapies embedded in the family member’s interactions as a means to address individual problems. Consequently, this paper divulges on family therapies centering on the comparison between the structural and strategic family therapies. Structural Family Therapy The structural family therapy is premised on the assertion that psychological problem within the family lineage contributes to the transfer of the eminent problem primarily because of confused hierarchies. Moreover, Gurman (2014) attribute symptom formation to family members interactions patterns. As such, to find a solution, the family members are expected to explore the symptoms with regard to their interactions. According to Todd (2015), structural family therapist attributes the existence of individual problems to family instability. Moreover, in diagnosing the problem, Gurman (2014) observes that the therapist examine the family structure as a complete dyad, comprised of several subsystems. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy and create structural family maps essay. Further, Kocet and Herlihy (2014), assert that the existing boundaries within the family structure ought to be clear, rigid and diffuse. In the diagnosing the problem, the model advocates for clear boundaries within the family. Gurman (2014) observes that, clear family boundaries promote communication among the members thus discouraging autonomy and also encourages a defined hierarchy. Furth


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