Family Therapy Basics / Edition 3

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This text provides readers with the critical link between theory and practice illustrating how to actually "do" family therapy. It is a nuts-and-bolts primer that takes students step-by-step through the process of conducting family therapy sessions. The book starts with the initial session and finishes with the terminating session covering assessment, diagnosis, skills and techniques needed throughout each stage. The case of the Martin family, a blended family, is followed throughout the treatment process.

Incl. practical guidelines for conducting family interviews/ common clinicial problems/trmt notes/process interventions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This text is a very good integration of the theories material I use in my class and would be an excellent 'how to' text for beginning family therapists."

"The writing is crisp and engaging. I feel like I am listening to a master. This book comes as close to an actual experience of counseling that I have ever encountered."

"Lively, crisp, engaging, knowledgeable. The book is a gold mine for the tongue-tied family therapist because it is chock full of clinical examples."

"An excellent overview of family therapy basics without getting sidelined into vague areas or issues."

From The Critics
Written for the beginning clinician, this brief introduction to family therapy provides a general perspective on systems and social construction, focusing on engagement, assessment, and change. Specific chapters discuss the first interview, setting boundaries, diagnosis and systems models, identifying family patterns, the resistance to change, techniques for promoting change, and termination. The emphasis throughout is on practical strategies rather than theory. Worden teaches at Fairfield University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780534519711
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 6/25/2002
  • Series: Marital, Couple, & Family Counseling Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 766,480
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Worden is a professor of Psychology at Fairfield University in Connecticut. His doctorate is from St. Louis University.

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Table of Contents

1. The Movement to Systems and Social Construction. 2. The First Interview: Initiating Assessment and Engagement. 3. Engagement: Establishing Therapeutic Boundaries. 4. Assessment: Diagnosis and Systems Models. 5. Assessment: The Process of Identifying Family Patterns. 6. Change and Resistance. 7. Change Techniques. 8. Termination. Epilogue. References. Index.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2004

    Great counseling resource!

    This book offered good instructions for conducting family therapy, but it was not written for Christian counselors. This was strictly a ¿techniques¿ manual. Although the book was theologically limited because of its focus on secular counseling methods, helpful concepts were found. The strategic questions Dr. Worden asked were very insightful. However, an inexperienced therapist would have difficulty recalling questions during specific points of the session. One would have to compile these questions into notes and then refer to it during family counseling, which may inadvertently hamper the therapeutic process since the counselor is distracted with asking the ¿right¿ questions instead of understanding the family¿s presenting problem. The number and length of sessions was left up to the discretion of individual therapists. Considering that Dr. Worden wrote the book for ¿a beginning therapist,¿ he failed to answer his initial question, ¿What do I do next?¿ in regards to this important aspect of counseling. Granted there are various factors involved with different families, Dr. Worden still should have recommended his own standard number and duration of sessions as a ¿rule of thumb.¿ He did mention that HMOs found five to 10 sessions the ¿acceptable standard¿ for treatment (34), but it was stated as an expected fact when one counsels HMO clients. Dr. Worden included ways of confronting family members during a therapy session, even though he said it ¿may harm as much as it helps¿ (67). These questions seemed harsh and unproductive. For example, he asked, ¿Mrs. Martin, your complaints fall on deaf ears. I wonder why you persistently bring them up?¿ Then he said, ¿Cindy, you have a one-note act. All you can do is interrupt in a hostile fashion¿ (68). This line of questioning and remark might actually erode the therapeutic alliance instead of helping the overall counseling process. In redirecting the session from ¿the emotional to the cognitive,¿ Dr. Worden used some closed-ended questions, such as ¿Is this what happens at home?¿ or ¿Do the same issues start the same fights?¿ (76). These questions were meant to allow family members to ¿interact in problem-solving mode with the therapist,¿ but instead of allowing for a comprehensive cognitive reflection, it would probably yield only simple ¿yes or no¿ answers (76). Dr. Worden believed that ¿continually¿ asking someone, ¿How did that make you feel?¿ was counterproductive for feelings to ¿emerge¿ and exhibited in counseling (86), but if the therapist never asked the client to label their feelings, an outburst of emotions may be misinterpreted and thus mislabeled. Also, Dr. Worden never quantified what he meant by ¿continually.¿ According to Dr. Worden, play and drawing therapy can be useful tools for seeing the family from a child¿s perspective; however, asking a child to ¿draw a picture of everyone in your family, including yourself, doing something,¿ may be taken literally and the result will be pictures of each family member doing some sort of activity unique to that individual (88). This could be misread to imply that the ¿family is absorbed in personal interests¿ because family interaction is not taking place in the child¿s drawing (89). If the purpose for the drawing therapy was to find ¿family interactional patterns¿ (89), then perhaps asking the child to draw a picture of the family doing something together is a better approach. If the family never does anything together, the child will have nothing to draw. There were several positive aspects of the book. For instance, asking family members certain questions like, ¿After an argument, can you predict what will happen next?¿ was a good way to make people realize their influence in family interactions (87). The basic premise is if a behavior can be predicted, then it could be ¿controlled¿ and ¿modified¿ (87). Dr. Worden included a section on ¿avoiding an emotional trap¿ (77). He discussed how a family

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