Structural Analysis : Structural Family Therapy

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Structural family therapy was developed by Salvador Minuchin throughout the 1960’s and was focused on systemic ways of conceptualizing family dilemmas. Structural therapy began through the work of Minuchin while he was working with families of low socioeconomic status’. He first began working with delinquent children, and realized that he must begin seeing entire family units. Since then, he has always remained committed to treating these minority families. Minuchin believed that families were organized into subsystems with boundaries, as the other family theories suggest as well. Therapists use a variety of techniques and are especially fond of the use of enactments within therapy. Structural family therapy focuses on the organizational…show more content…
It is beneficial to assess the presenting problem while also exploring the entire family’s response to it. Structural therapists will begin by talking with the parents about the initial complaint, and will later address the children’s concerns. Therapists will also observe communication patterns between family members which will help to determine any enmeshment or disengagement patterns. The therapeutic relationship is significantly important in structural therapy, since therapists can be quite direct. However, therapists are respectful towards the parents and are careful not to undermine them when children are present. Since family therapy is difficult, therapists work diligently to preserve an alliance between each of the family members. They are curious to know every family members perspective on the presenting problem and listen carefully while also acknowledging what is being said. After the joining process, it is important to observe and identify the subsystems within a family and any dysfunction between the boundaries. Maintaining strong boundaries is necessary within the family hierarchy, as they help to maintain healthy functioning.Subsystems can be organized by age, gender, common interests, responsibilities, etc. Boundaries that are formed between the subsystems can range from either very rigid to complete enmeshment. Healthy boundaries are imperative to the family system, as they encourage flexibility and the ability to adapt to
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