Culturally Competent Family Therapy: A General Model

By Shlomo Ariel | Go to book overview
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Planning the Therapy: Strategies, Tactics and Techniques


Strategies for the whole therapy can be constructed on the basis of the overall diagnostic assessment. It is not implied that the therapist necessarily shares his diagnostic theory with the family. The therapist's decisions as to what to say to the family or what to do with it will be influenced by his therapeutic goals, by the nature of the therapeutic alliance and by characteristics of the family's culture. Such decisions will be included in the strategy and tactics.

The concept "strategy," as it is used in this text, refers to the general approach to solving therapeutic problems. In other words, it is a general plan for removing or weakening the culture-bound bugs in the family system's information-processing programs that breed the presenting problems, so that these problems are likely to be solved or disappear, spontaneously. Bugs will be eliminated if the conditions that brought them into being and are nourishing and protecting them are changed.

A good strategy specifies the shortest, simplest and least costly way of removing or weakening bugs. When the therapist designs a strategy he or she should ask the following questions: (1) What are the alternative approaches for changing the bug inducers? and (2) How costly is each alternative in terms of obstacles, resources required and possible complications? Then she will choose the best alternative, that is, the one that is the least costly. A preferable strategy is one whereby the intervention will not be met with unbending, insurmountable resistance and will not require excessive efforts, complicated operations, time and financial resources. Furthermore, with such a strategy, changes effected by the intervention sow the seeds for


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