Collaborative Therapy with Multi-Stressed Families: From Old Problems to New Futures / Edition 1

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Resistant, difficult, dysfunctional--these and other labels are often applied to families who have not been well served by traditional mental health, social service, and medical systems. This volume sets forth an alternative approach to thinking about and working with multi-stressed families. Working from the conviction that clients are more than the difficulties in their lives, seasoned practitioner William Madsen invites therapists to move away from trying to identify and correct old problems. Instead, he outlines a detailed framework for collaborating with family members to envision desired futures and develop new lives. Anyone working with families in crisis, especially in settings where time and resources are scarce, will gain valuable insights and tools from this book.

Highlighting the importance of the therapist's relational stance, the book discusses how helpers can position themselves as appreciative allies in clients' lives. Guidelines are provided for conducting nonpathologizing assessments that promote attention to families' resources and abilities as well as their challenges. Ways to engage reluctant clients in treatment are demonstrated, with special attention to those families who may minimize difficulties or insist that one particular family member needs to be "fixed." Illustated with numerous case examples and client-therapist dialogues, chapters show how to implement interventions that elicit themes of competence, connection, hope, and vision. Therapists learn concepts and strategies to help clients shift their relationship to the problems in their lives; take apart the old stories that have organized family life; and build alternative narratives that opennew possibilities for growth and change. Other topics covered include helping clients develop communities of support; successfully collaborating with other helping professionals; and revisioning agency structures, procedures, and paperwork.

Offering concrete guidance for therapists facing challenging clinical situations, the book facilitates a strengths-based focus without romanticizing families or minimizing their difficulties. It is an invaluable resource for therapists, counselors, and supervisors, particularly those working in outpatient clinics, community agencies, and home-based family preservation programs. In addition, graduate-level students of family therapy, social work, and clinical and counseling psychology will find it a clear and informative text.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...a profoundly inspiring, compassionate, and helpful book....Madsen offers us a socially conscious resource model of therapy that is fundamentally influenced by ideas from narrative therapy and that integrates concepts from other models. Most importantly, he includes the voices of the people who come for help and those of the front-line workers he has met in his years of consulting. The author's own voice of experience and creativity is woven throughout the book....As both a teacher and a therapist, I am grateful to Bill Madsen for this inclusive work that will empower both beginners and experienced clinicians of all theoretical backgrounds to engage respectfully with individuals and families, even while working in the midst of dehumanizing systems."--AFTA Newsletter

"Once in a long while is a book written with the power and potential to influence clinical practice in profound and positive ways....Collaborative Therapy with Multi-Stressed Families is such a contribution. Building on the growing postmodern tradition of collaborative and strength-based therapies, Madsen provides a well-conceptualized, clearly written text for clinicians at all levels of experience who work with families facing complex social problems....provides an outline for clinical assessment that is adaptable for use with community agencies....Madsen proposes a framework for assessment that meets the needs of managed care by being goal directed and outcome oriented while maintaining a collaborative and resource based stance. This book is rich in ideas for helping therapists shift perspectives away from traditional models of clinical assessment and intervention and into the realm of collaborative partnership....This book is highly recommended for family therapy courses as well as for therapists in community agencies."--Journal of Systemic Therapies

"...Madsen [creates]...a process of therapy for stressed families that can be learned and put into practice by both new and seasoned therapists....blends the goal-setting approach of solution-focused therapy with a pragmatic format that addresses both short- and long-term needs. The book is inundated with detailed case histories, and readers will quickly grasp the sensitivity, competence, and utility of both the writer and the collaborative model he presents."--Readings

"In this lively and useful volume, Madsen brings a postmodern family-centered model into daily practice with a range of families and individuals, including those who have often been ill served or neglected by professional helpers. Well written and deeply rooted in practice, this liberating volume will have a profound impact on the thinking and the work of all those who engage with it."--Ann Hartman, DSW, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service

"In invitingly clear prose, William Madsen has written a trustworthy and knowledgeable guide for working with multi-stressed families, focusing on collaboration with clients, therapists, and agencies. Never losing sight of today's practice realities, this graceful, smart book enlightens and inspires."--Kathy Weingarten, Ph.D. Co-Founder and Faculty, The Program in Narrative Therapies, Family Institute of Cambridge, Assistant Clinical Professor, Harvard Medical School

"This compelling book depicts the genuine complexities of families and their helpers on a canvas of deep compassion, connection, and hope. Bringing the experiences and the voices of multi-stressed families vibrantly to life, Madsen is helping to redefine the language of our field. His profound respect for families and mental health practitioners is beautifully paralleled in his relationship with his readers in this collaborative and wonderfully jargon-free volume. Beginning trainees will find both gentle guidance and clear direction (I anticipate the chapter on assessment will become a classic in family therapy training programs); experienced therapists will appreciate the author's fresh ideas and commitment to a multilayered therapy; administrators and policymakers will discover a progressive and resourceful approach to seemingly intractable problems."--Evan Imber-Black, PhD, Director, Center for Families and Health, Ackerman Institute for the Family; author of The Secret Life of Families

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572307094
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Series: The Guilford Family Therapy Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 358
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Working with Multi-Stressed Families: From Technique to Attitude
2. What We See Is What We Get: Reexamining Our Assessment Process
3. Collaboration Is a Two-Way Street: Engaging Reluctant Families
4. Envisioning New Futures: Developing Collaborative Therapy Contracts with Families
5.Invitational Interaction: An Anthropological Approach to "Intervening" with Families
6. Helping C lients Take Apart Old Problems and Put Together New Lives
7. Elaborating and Solidifying New Lives
8. Developing Communities to Support New Lives
9. The Larger Helping System as an Appreciative Audience for New Lives
10. Envisioning New Futures, Revisioning Human Services
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