Experiential Family Therapy (of Carl Whitaker)

4801 WordsJan 2, 200520 Pages
Introduction Experiential therapy emerged from the humanistic wing of psychology that was focussed on the immediate, here-and-now experience, which was most popular in the 1960's and 70's. Therapists focussed on the needs of the individual as they attempt to facilitate family interaction, resulting in the individuality of each member. As Becvar and Becvar (2000) asserted, the hallmarks of experiential family therapy were the importance of individuality, personal freedom and self-fulfillment (pp.181). Thus, efforts to reduce defensiveness and unlock deeper levels of experiencing rested on an assumption of the basic goodness of human nature. Many of the basic theories were borrowed from individual and group therapy. It borrowed techniques…show more content…
These goals should remain unconscious during therapy, identified only in looking back. The therapy should also improve behavioural congruence, enhance independence and free choice, and expand the experiencing of emotions. Basic Model Whitaker believed that the active and forceful personal involvement and caring of the therapist was the best way to bring about changes in the family and promote flexibility among family members. He relied on his own personality and wit rather than any kind of fixed techniques to stir up issues in families and to help them open up and be themselves. He also did this to confuse the family. In his words, "I revel in non-organization. I think that's part of what my therapy has to do with. It has to do with disorganizing whatever the family brings in and enjoying my disorganization as well." (pp. 204) In doing this he tried to get the families to go somewhere in order to get them unstuck. During this part of the therapy the therapist and the family learned to express anxiety more openly during the session. Techniques that were commonly used to activate the underlying anxiety of the therapy included waiting, challenging roles, amplifying family deviations and highlighting differences. If successful, families should experience their will to fight, push and disagree. Theoretical Concepts There are 3 stages of therapy: 1)
Open Document