Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Videotape Reviews -- Clinical Dilemmas in Marriage: The Search for Equal Partnership

Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

Videotape Reviews -- Clinical Dilemmas in Marriage: The Search for Equal Partnership

Article excerpt

It is not easy to review a video by veteran producer Stephen Lerner and veteran family therapist Betty Carter; each has approached his/her craft with an eye toward improving the product. My best hope for critique was that the presentation would be stiff and Carter' s style militantly feminist. I was disappointed. Together, Lerner and Carter have constructed a video worth watching. In it, Carter describes her multicontextual framework for assessment. She points out that it is an assessment rather than a therapy model and could be used with a variety of therapeutic theories or paradigms. This assessment process uses three lenses for viewing problems in marriage: (a) the problems, stresses, and tasks of the family life cycle; (b) patterns, themes, and issues in the multigenerational family context; and (c) resources and inequities from the sociocultural context. Within each context, Carter is especially sensitive to issues of gender, money, and power. The latter is the newest focus in family therapy and one to which Carter is especially sensitive.

The themes of Carter' s assessment framework are illustrated in two case studies. In the first, a young couple struggles to balance their work and family needs. Carter skillfully elicits the dilemmas of modern life, using each lens to bring forth preferred solutions and the apparent barriers to those solutions in the face of cultural and family constraints. …

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