TJ Three approaches to family therapy are discussed in this module

TJ Three approaches to family therapy are discussed in this module. Experiential Family Counseling places importance on each family member’s pursuit for self -actualization. When individuals are self- actualized then the family will be healthy and functional.  In therapy sessions, the goal is to ensure that each family member is given opportunities to be independent and speak honestly with one another. The focus is on the present.  Structural Family Therapy places emphasis on the boundaries between family members. The goal is to ensure that boundaries are clear and flexible. Boundaries are often changed in this model to ensure that relationships between members are maximized. Strategic family counseling examines how family members communicate and what positions they take in power issues. This model focuses on developing strategies to solve problems within the family system. If I were a therapist working with Debbie I would use Strategic Family Counseling.  I think that she and her family would benefit from this model because it focuses on communication with each other and how to solve problems directly. The stained relationship between Debbie and her father and the nagging and condescending motivation from her mother are both communication issues. Debbie seems to be depressed because of her inability to communicate to her parents that she does not share the same desire to become a doctor as they want her to. The main problem that this family has is communication. In addition to the afore mentioned areas the fact that Debbie wants to commit suicide is an area that needs to be communicated more effectively. Dad is working two jobs so he probably uses the time he has at home to rest so there could be improved communication between the parents as well. Using the strategic family therapy model, I would teach new communication skills to the family in the group setting. Two strategies would be active listening and role playing so that each could get a sense of what the others are feeling. I would give homework assignments that included spending more time together and communicating issues with one another. I would also explore how the power in expressed in the family unit and explore how Debbie feels powerless. This focuses on how members communicate with each other and what positions they take in power issues. I would also give advice on how Debbie’s mom could motivate her without putting her down. The family also needs to understand that Debbie is suffering from depression and is not just lazy.




Seligman, L. W., Reichenberg, L. W. (02/2013). Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy: Systems, Strategies, and Skills, 4th Edition. [Argosy University]. Retrieved from

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