The Importance of Family Theories and Science in Family Therapy
The values and theories of clients about families in general, and about their family, in particular, have significant importance; Understanding their views allows the therapist to understand their world, and what shapes their decisions and actions. It is also essential to understand the differences between the values and personal theories of the different members since conflicts and disagreements can arise from these gaps. When personal experiences shape and reinforce the client's mini-theories, understanding the theories can shed light on the way that the personal history affected the client. Understanding the client's experiences and their story about themselves and the world can allow meaningful narrative work, such as re-framing negative attitudes through a strengths-based lens, and this, in turn, might allow a positive change in family dynamics.
However, when clients rely just on their family theories, there is the danger of staying in the status quo. When no information is coming in from the outside world that might influence the client's unhelpful beliefs about the way each family should operate, a closed feedback loop is preventing any development; This can interfere with the goal of therapy: To shift what does not work.
By gradually exposing the client to psycho-education around various theories from family science, the therapist can help the client to broaden their view of themselves, the members' roles in the family, as well the different dynamics in play. By allowing the client to consider other possibilities, and to learn from research-based family theories, the therapist can give the client the gift of knowledge on what works in families and what does not.
Sasha Raskin, a therapist in Boulder, provides individual ,family, and couples therapy / counseling in Boulder, Colorado, and worldwide via video and phone calls, drawing from over ten years of clinical experience. Schedule your free 20-minute phone consultation with Sasha Raskin