Family Therapy: First Steps towards a Systemic Approach

By John B. Burnham | Go to book overview

2

Transitions

Information about a family can be organized to reveal relationship patterns and, more importantly, changes in those patterns. By plotting the family relationships on a chart known as a family tree, the effect of the presenting complaint can be analysed by means of the concept of transitional stages.


The family tree (genogram)

Use of a family tree as a relationship chart is a distinctive feature of family therapy. Carter and McGoldrick (1980) give Murray Bowen the credit for developing it in a clinically useful way to gather, organize, and store information. Relationship patterns discussed in the previous chapter can be represented diagrammatically. The therapist can use the genogram as a planning tool, a therapeutic technique in a family session, and as a way of examining an individual’s family of origin in a support group. It can be restricted to the family members or can be extended to include other perhaps more significant people, such as friends, neighbours, or professional helpers. The uses are many and varied, and facilitate the shift to an approach that views symptoms in the context of the evolution of family relationships. A major advantage of the genogram is that it shows available information and indicates what else the worker needs to know. Used well, it can highlight patterns and themes which have been occurring in families for generations and may be influencing present interactions. Events that significantly alter the shape of relationships within the

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Family Therapy: First Steps towards a Systemic Approach
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • General Editor’s Foreword viii
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Theory 7
  • 1 - Relationships 9
  • 2 - Transitions 25
  • 3 - Punctuation 45
  • 4 - Models of Therapy 61
  • Part II - Practice 75
  • 5 - Convening 76
  • 6 - Preparation 92
  • 7 - Interviewing I 108
  • 8 - Interviewing II 126
  • 9 - Intervening 142
  • 10 - Failure 160
  • Part III - Agency Context 177
  • 11 - Integrating Family Therapy into a Social Work Agency 179
  • 12 - Applications of Family Therapy in Social Work Practice 192
  • Appendix I - Training Resources in Family Therapy 214
  • Appendix II - Invitation/ Appointment Letters 217
  • Appendix III - Pre-Session Questionnaires 219
  • Appendix IV - Videotape Consent Form 221
  • Appendix V - Verbatim Letter from Case Description in Chapter 12 223
  • References 225
  • Name Index 235
  • Subject Index 238
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