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Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy

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Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy

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Individuals are born into families, grow and develop in families, and live most of their lives in families. Therefore, it makes sense that clients are best understood within the context of the family system. ——Dr. Candice Knight, Psychotherapy for the Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurse

The family system is a social unit that is based on unique relationships and roles. Structural and strategic therapies are important, because they offer unique insights to the theoretical underpinnings of this system. As a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, a strong theoretical foundation will help you better understand the family unit and family therapy; this understanding will, in turn, improve the effectiveness of your work with clients.

This week, as you continue exploring family therapy, you examine structural and strategic family therapies and their appropriateness for client families. You also consider your own practicum experiences involving family therapy sessions.

Photo Credit: [Blend Images/Dream Pictures]/[Blend Images]/Getty Images

Learning Resources
Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
Required Readings
Nichols, M. (2014). The essentials of family therapy (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Chapter 5, “Bowen Family Systems Therapy” (pp. 69–88)
Chapter 6, “Strategic Family Therapy” (pp. 89–109)
Chapter 7, “Structural Family Therapy” (pp. 110–128)
Gerlach, P. K. (2015). Use structural maps to manage your family well: Basic premises and examples. Retrieved from http://sfhelp.org/fam/map.htm

McNeil, S. N., Herschberger, J. K., & Nedela, M. N. (2013). Low-income families with potential adolescent gang involvement: A structural community family therapy integration model. American Journal of Family Therapy, 41(2), 110–120. doi:10.1080/01926187.2011.649110

Méndez, N. A., Qureshi, M. E., Carnerio, R., & Hort, F. (2014). The intersection of Facebook and structural family therapy volume 1. American Journal of Family Therapy, 42(2), 167–174. doi:10.1080/01926187.2013.794046

Nichols, M., & Tafuri, S. (2013). Techniques of structural family assessment: A qualitative analysis of how experts promote a systemic perspective. Family Process, 52(2), 207–215. doi:10.1111/famp.12025

Ryan, W. J., Conti, R. P., & Simon, G. M. (2013). Presupposition compatibility facilitates treatment fidelity in therapists learning structural family therapy. American Journal of Family Therapy, 41(5), 403–414. doi:10.1080/01926187.2012.727673

Sheehan, A. H., & Friedlander, M. L. (2015). Therapeutic alliance and retention in brief strategic family therapy: A mixed-methods study. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 41(4), 415–427. doi:10.1111/jmft.12113
Szapocznik, J., Muir, J. A., Duff, J. H., Schwartz, S. J., & Brown, C. H. (2015). Brief strategic family therapy: Implementing evidence-based models in community settings. Psychotherapy Research, 25(1), 121–133. doi:10.1080/10503307.2013.856044

Although structural therapy and strategic therapy are both used in family therapy, these therapeutic approaches have many differences in theory and application. As you assess families and develop treatment plans, you must consider these differences and their potential impact on clients. For this Assignment, as you compare structural and strategic family therapy, consider which therapeutic approach you might use with your own client families.

Students will:
Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy
Create structural family maps
Justify recommendations for family therapy
To prepare:
Review this week’s Learning Resources and reflect on the insights they provide on structural and strategic family therapies.
Refer to Gerlach (2015) in this week’s Learning Resources for guidance on creating a structural family map.
The Assignment
In a 2- to 3-page paper, address the following:

Summarize the key points of both structural family therapy and strategic family therapy.
Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy, noting the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Provide an example of a family in your practicum using a structural family map. Note: Be sure to maintain HIPAA regulations.
Recommend a specific therapy for the family, and justify your choice using the Learning Resources.

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