Behavioral, Intergenerational, and Structural Approaches Paper Carey Go
June 3, 2014
Behavioral, Intergenerational, and Structural Approaches Paper
After assessing my nuclear and extended family using a genogram, it was apparent that a history of mental illness was a pattern within my paternal extended family. My family never went to therapy, but I truly think that it would have been beneficial throughout my childhood and teenage years. Solution-focused therapy, narrative therapy, and intergenerational therapy and three therapies that can aide families in healing processes from lack of unity, communication, and negative patterns. Mental Illness Pattern
The pattern that I identified within my family genogram is a short history of known mental illness. When I was a teenager, my dad was diagnosed with major depression and generalized anxiety disorder. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Recently, I found out that my Aunt Kathy was diagnosed with major depression and generalized anxiety disorder. No one is positive about any other family members who have seen a therapist or psychiatrist, or has ever been diagnosed with a mental illness. Even though no other family members have been confirmed as mentally ill, I have a feeling there have been cases of depression in my grandparents in the past. Solution-focused
Solution-focused therapy is a brief therapy that focuses on the solutions instead of issues that brought the family to therapy. The therapy is designed to allow the client to visualize a future where their issues are resolved and they are happy (Bannink, 2007). The therapist is then able to create a treatment plan that will outline the steps necessary to help the clients achieve their goals (Bannink, 2007). Solution focused therapists believe that people are already equipped with the knowledge, skills, and passions to make changes their lives, but need the guidance of the therapist to connect with those skills. Solution-focused therapy uses scaling questions to assess the problems of the clients (Bannink, 2007). The therapy also uses a “miracle question” to allow the clients to picture a future time when their problem will be absent. The clients can see how different their lives would be if the issue did not exist, and they are better able to identify the steps needed to make a change (Bannink, 2007).
I believe that solution-focused therapy would have greatly benefitted my family. It seemed like my dad was always upset. My brother was occasionally beating on me and working through anger problems, my mother was obese, and I was up and down with an eating disorder. There were so many random problems and no one knew what started them or where they ended. Solution focused therapy could have been able to help us stop thinking about what is going wrong, and realize how much could go right. My family needed so many solutions, but no one made a suggestion for us to attend therapy.
I believe that solution focused therapy could have explained small hurdles that we could have jumped over together. Instead, we all stared at the picture of this dysfunctional family that was getting any better. I think the miracle question would have helped with my dad’s depression because he would have been diagnosed sooner and I would have had more of an understanding of what depression was from his experience. My mother might have been more inclined to lose weight if she was guided by a therapist to find achievable solutions. My brother would have probably been able to attend anger management classes and wouldn’t have picked on me as much. Therefore, maybe I wouldn’t have developed an anxiety disorder. If our family was able to find solutions together, we would have learned about unity and helping each other. It is sad to think that we went through all our problems alone, and now my aunt is going through her...
References: Bannink, F. P. (2007). Solution focused brief therapy. J Contemporary Psychotherapy 37, 87-94
Brown, J. (2008). Is bowen theory still relevant in family therapy field? Journal of the Counselors and Psychotherapists Association of NSW 3. Retrieved from http://www.familysystemstraining.com/papers/is-bowen-theory-still-relevant.html
Dallos, R. and Vetere, A. (2014). Systemic therapy and attachment narratives: Attachment narrative therapy. Clinical Child Psychology 19(4). 494-502.
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