Resistant, difficult, dysfunctionalthese 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 open new 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.
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
Family therapists and counselors; social workers, supervisors and case managers in outpatient clinics, community agencies, and home-based family preservation programs. Serves as a supplemental text for psychotherapy courses within family therapy, social work, and clinical and counseling psychology programs.