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ESSAY: Structural Versus Strategic Family Therapies

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.

Learning Objectives
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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Structural Versus Strategic Family Therapies

Family therapy is psychological counseling that assists family members in resolving disputes and improve communication standards. The treatment is in most cases short term and includes the entire family or the few willing to take part. The therapy session equips individuals with knowledge and skills to extend the connections in the family and overcome stress. There are a variety of techniques applied for family therapy, depending on the type of the problem and the family. The paper intends to discuss the two commonly used techniques, structural and strategic family therapy.

Key Points: Structural Family Therapy

Salvador Minuchin was the developer of the Structural family therapy theory in the 1960s while working in New York City as a therapist. The therapy is a treatment technique that deals with interaction patterns, which lead to the emergence of issues within families. According to Structural Family Therapy, psychological health problems are signs of a dysfunctional family. Therefore, the remedy to the health problem is by changing the structure of the family instead if changing members of the family. The target of the therapy is always improvement of interactions and communication among members of the family and create proper boundaries for a stable family structure (Colapinto, 2015). The therapist must get involved as an active member of the group under treatment to promote change effectively and strengthen the new structure of the family.

Key Points: Strategic Family Therapy

Strategic Family Therapy functions to solve particular problems that can be solved in a small-time frame compared to other therapy modalities.  The therapy is considered one of the most significant models of family psychotherapy. A therapist using the treatment procedure has full control of everything that happens during the treatment.  He designs approaches for every individual presenting a problem and is fully responsible for having a direct influence on the people (Szapocznik et al., 2016). The therapy is divided into five different parts, which include, identifying a problem, creation of goals, the establishment of plans to meet the goals, evaluation of the applied goals accomplishment techniques and lastly, the success of the whole process.

When using this technique, the therapist is not only interested in identifying the cause of the problem but will take the patient through a learning process that will enable an individual to solve the presented issue. Just like in Structural family therapy, the therapists also become part of the family. As part of the family, the therapist manages to identify the problem and is in a position to point out all the negatives in their relations (Finlay-Jones, Rees & Kane, 2015). A large number of families do no realize the positives in their interactions. Therefore, pointing out the better side of their relationships can ignite better communication in the family.

Comparison between Structural and Strategic Family Therapy

Similarities Strategic and Structural Family Therapy have several similarities. Both therapies insist on the importance of understanding the effects of the intrapsychic world on a person’s health and integration into the structure of the family. They also emphasize on how making changes in interpersonal interactions assist the family in achieving…

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