A family system is a social unit that allows practitioners especially the psychiatric nurse to better understand their clients within the context of their family. Understanding clients enhance the ability of the practitioner to know the different family therapy models to use to meet the individual needs of the client. For instance, the use of structural and strategic therapies in healthcare are vital because they provide unique insights to the theoretical foundations of the system (Ryan, Conti & Simon, 2013).
Structural and Strategic Family Therapy Comparison
The strategic and structural therapy models share some similarities regarding their underpinning concepts of practice. For instance, they both employ the systemic approach to facilitate understanding of pathology. Also, the systemic approach is employed to change the efforts psychoanalytic approach to pay attention to the individual collaborating with the family network. Therefore, they emphasize on the significance of understanding the impact of the intrapsychic on the health of a person and how the dynamic interpersonal interactions assist the family to obtain successful outcomes in the therapy (McNeil et al., 2013). Additionally, the theoretical approaches of both models compare in the type of intervention strategies that they both use. Example of the major therapeutic techniques used includes helping the family to reorganize the family dynamic as well as joining with the system of the family. Although these models are designed to address families with dysfunctional youth, they have also been used to help individuals in other demographic (Sheehan & Friedlander, 2015). Moreover, both models compare in the sense that they focus on the significance of systems in the internal and external structure of the family by modification of dysfunction associated to the factors of environment, investigation, conception, and explanation. Also, the models believe that the therapeutic objective of helping the family to change the structures and systems that are dysfunction as well as addressing the dysfunction and conflict in the family. These aspects present the strength s of the models in therapy. Furthermore, both models pay more attention to the intrapersonal relations within the system of the family and thus fail to examine and resolve the personal emotional and intrapsychic factors of the family members included in the dysfunctional network (Szapocznik et al., 2013).
These models also contrast in significant ways despite the various similarities that they share. The major difference between these family therapy models include the changes that each model applies to the family system. Strategic family therapy models indicate that family structure changes organically after modifying the relational strategies (Szapocznik et al., 2012). On the other hand, the structural family therapy model state that the relational interactions can be changed by paying attention to the changes in the dysfunctional family structure.
Example of a Family in my Practicum
One of the clients I worked with was a male teenager, George, aged 19 years. He had an addiction problem, and his parents were concerned. After assessing George, I realized that his problem is being facilitated by experiences solely occurring at school. Also, I realized that his father was not well situated in the activities of their son’s school.
To address this problem, I would recommend the use of a structural family therapy model for this family. This will help to restructure the family by establishing clear boundaries around the parental system of the boy to intervene in this problem. The family will be included in eleven sessions with his two children present and one session with the boy’s parents and the school personnel. The use of structural family therapy approach is crucial for this family because it is essential in addressing the family issue. It perceives the problem behavior within the family structure than dealing with behavior. It is an active approach that focuses on restructuring the family to eradicate dysfunctional interactions (Nichols, 2014). Therefore, it is crucial in helping to address the dysfunction in the family.
The strategic and structural family therapy models have gained a lot of significance in the field of family therapy. They focus on assessing and resolving the issues in the dysfunctional function that compare in significant ways. They help families in effecting appropriate solutions to address the family issues, which is an important factor in enhancing successful treatment. Therefore, they play a crucial role in the treatment of psychiatric patients.
- McNeil, S. N., Herschberger, J. K., and 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.
- 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)
- Ryan, W. J., Conti, R. P., and 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 Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.
- Sheehan, A. H., and 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 Note: Retrieved from Walden Library databases.
- Szapocznik, J., Schwartz, S. J., Muir, J. A., and Brown, C. H. (2012). Brief strategic family therapy: An intervention to reduce adolescent risk behavior. Couple and Family Psychology, 1(2), 134–145. doi:10.1037/a0029002
- Szapocznik, J., Zarate, M., Duff, J., and Muir, J. (2013). Brief strategic family therapy: Engaging drug using/problem behavior adolescents and their families in treatment. Social Work in Public Health, 28(3-4), 206–223. doi:10.1080/19371918.2013.774666