Murray Bowen is one of the most respected family theorists in the field of family therapy. Bowen views the family unit as complex and believes it is important to understand the interactions among the members in order to solve problems. Satir and Minuchin also advanced family therapy with their concepts and models. As a clinical social worker, using these models (along with having an ecological perspective) can be very effective in helping clients.
For this Discussion, review the “Petrakis Family” case history and video session.
· Post (using two concepts of Bowen’s family theory) a discussion and analysis of the events that occurred after Alec moved in with his grandmother up until Helen went to the hospital. If you used the concepts of structural family therapy, how would your analysis of the situation be different? Which family theory did you find to be most helpful in your analysis? Finally, indicate whether Satir’s or Minuchin’s model is the more strength-based model. Why?
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References (use 3 or more)
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. (Eds.). (2013). Sessions case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing.
“The Petrakis Family” (pp. 20–22)
Banmen, J. (2002). The Satir model: Yesterday and today. Contemporary Family Therapy, 24(1), 7–22.
Brown, J. (1999). Bowen family systems theory and practice: Illustration and critique. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 20(2), 94–103. Retrieved from http://www.thefsi.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Bowen-Family-Systems-Theory-and-Practice_Illustration-and-Critique.pdf
Vetere, A. (2001). Structural family therapy. Child & Adolescent Mental Health, 6(3), 133–139.
Bowen Center for the Study of the Family: Georgetown Family Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.thebowencenter.org
The Petrakis Family (case history)
Helen Petrakis is a 52-year-old heterosexual married female of Greek descent who says that she feels overwhelmed and “blue.” She came to our agency at the suggestion of a close friend who thought Helen would benefit from having a person who could listen. Although she is uncomfortable talking about her life with a stranger, Helen said that she decided to come for therapy because she worries about burdening friends with her troubles. Helen and I have met four times, twice per month, for individual therapy in 50-minute sessions. Helen consistently appears well-groomed. She speaks clearly and in moderate tones and seems to have linear thought progression; her memory seems intact. She claims no history of drug or alcohol abuse, and she does not identify a history of trauma. Helen says that other than chronic back pain from an old injury, which she manages with acetaminophen as needed, she is in good health. Helen has worked full time at a hospital in the billing department since graduating from high school. Her husband, John (60), works full time managing a grocery store and earns the larger portion of the family income. She and John live with their three adult children in a 4-bedroom house. Helen voices a great deal of pride in the children. Alec, 27, is currently unemployed, which Helen attributes to the poor economy. Dmitra, 23, whom Helen describes as smart, beautiful, and hardworking, works as a sales consultant for a local department store. Athina, 18, is an honors student at a local college and earns spending money as a hostess in a family friend’s restaurant; Helen describes her as adorable and reliable. In our first session, I explained to Helen that I was an advanced year intern completing my second field placement at the agency. I told her I worked closely with my field supervisor to provide the best care possible. She said that was fine, congratulated me on advancing my career, and then began talking. I listened for the reasons Helen came to speak with me. I asked Helen about her community, which, she explained, centered on the activities of the Greek Orthodox Church. She and John were married in that church and attend services weekly. She expects that her children will also eventually wed there. Her children, she explained, are religious but do not regularly go to church because they are very busy. She believes that the children are too busy to be expected to help around the house. Helen shops, cooks, and cleans for the family, and John sees to yard care and maintains the family’s cars. When I asked whether the children contributed to the finances of the home, Helen looked shocked and said that John would find it deeply insulting to take money from his children. As Helen described her life, I surmised that the Petrakis family holds strong family bonds within a large and supportive community. Helen is responsible for the care of John’s 81-year-old widowed mother, Magda, who lives in an apartment 30 minutes away. Until recently, Magda was self-sufficient, coming for weekly family dinners and driving herself shopping and to church. But 6 months ago, she fell and broke her hip and was also recently diagnosed with early signs of dementia.
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