Theory Paper: Family Case Application
The structural family therapy model was the theory this student addressed in the family paper assignment. Gehart (2014) explains this theory’s fundamental concepts are boundaries, hierarchies, and subsystems. A family can have clear, enmeshed, or disengaged boundaries. A clear boundary involves a boundary between people that allows simultaneous emotional closeness and distance. Clear boundaries include having a strong sense of identity, autonomy, and closeness. Every culture defines closeness and distance differently. Enmeshed boundaries involve a person losing their identity because of lack of independence. An enmeshed interaction gives little distinction of individuality and autonomy. Disengaged boundaries are distancing oneself form another at the expense of the relationship.
Gehart (2014) explains the three forms of a hierarchy: effective, insufficient, and excessive. An effective hierarchy has healthy boundaries that are appropriate and facilitate success. An insufficient hierarchy involves the adult allowing children to do as they please with little consequence. Excessive hierarchies entail a parenting style of stringent rules and unfair consequences.
The last fundamental concept Gehart writes about is subsystems. There can be a subsystem between parents, children, and parent and child. Gehart (2014) states a parent child subsystem, or cross-generational coalition, can be damaging. In this scenario a child and parent team up against another parent. The parent child coalition is common among parents who have divorced. Each parent may try to form a coalition with the child. Often, coalitions can be covert no matter if it is in a divorce or within a marriage.
Biosocial history of family
Eric has been common law married to Samantha for 10 years. Samantha has three children from other relationships. The oldest child, Susan, has recently moved out from her father’s house and has started college. There are often fights between Samantha and Susan’s father over Susan going to college. Samantha believes Susan should go to college and her and Susan’s father need to be supportive. Susan’s father believes college is a waste of time and does not support Susan furthering her education. The two youngest children’s father died in a car accident when the middle daughter (Carol) was two and the youngest child (Ian) was an infant. Samantha started dating Eric less than a year later. The children are close to Eric and consider him to be their father. However, when Eric and Samantha get into a fight, the children will interrupt the fight with their own comments.
Eric suffers from chronic back pain, and Samantha suffers from depression. This student believes Eric’s back pain makes him irritable and can contribute to his frustrations. In addition, this student thinks Samantha’s bouts of depression get worse when they family struggles with arguments. This student also contemplates how...