Dysfunctional Family

Select a dysfunctional family from a movie, television show, book, or other common media for this week’s discussion.

Focus on one of the characters and answer the following questions:

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1. If you were to counsel this person from a systemic perspective, would you be inclined to work with his or her entire family? Why or why not?

2. What are the themes that interest you the most in this case? Why?

3. How would you proceed as a family therapist in an initial session if you saw the entire family? What issues would you want to discuss with this family at the first meeting?

4. If you believed in the value of seeing the family as a unit for one or more sessions, how might you go about getting the entire family to come in? Assume that all agreed to attend one session. What would be your focus, and what would you most want to achieve in this family session?

5. What are the key dynamics of the family as a system? What does the family atmosphere seem like?

6. Do you see any aspects of yourself in this case? Can you identify with any of the family members? How do you think this similarity or dissimilarity would help or hinder you in working with this family?

(Optional) It would be extremely helpful if you could find a clip on the internet that provides the rest of the class with a glimpse into the family interactions.

Please include in your answer some of the following; “family systems” terminology: accommodating, family systems theory, boundary, functional family, coaching, fusion, closed family system, genogram, developmental lens, gender lens, detriangulation, identified patient, differentiation of self, joining, disengagement, meta frameworks, dysfunctional family, mistaken goals, emotional cutoff, multicultural lens, emotional divorce, multi-generational transmission process, enactment, multi-lensed family systems approach, enmeshment, nuclear family emotional system, organization lens, experiential therapy, open family system, paradoxical directive, patriarchy, family atmosphere, personal priorities, family constellation, process lens, family dysfunction, family life chronology, reframing, family life cycle, restraining, family myths, sequencing, family of origin, strategic therapy, family projection process, structural therapy, family rules, triangle, family sculpting, triangulation, family structure, teleological lens.

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