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Mft 610 - Analysis of a Family System

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Case Assignment

Tamerla Glenn

Touro University World

 Juliette Stidd

MFT 610

November 17, 2018

Analysis of a Family System

Mike Austin (M.A.) is married to Amy Johns (A.J.). They have two kids and each have well-paying jobs. However, they have had issues in their marriage of late and they have come for a therapeutic couple’s counselling as they both wish to make it work given they have been married for twenty-five years. M.A. has been complaining towards the therapist that every time he argues with his wife, she has the tendency to always call her mother, Jane (J.) to intervene. However, around his mother-in-law feels uncomfortable as he senses that she has developed a negative perspective of him as a result of those kind of conversations that they have had.

M.A. also believes that J’s involvement makes it hard for him as well as his wife A.J. to work out their marriage together. However, J maintains that she has made effort in vain to talk out things with her son-in-law and that her daughter needs help from her to resolve the feelings that she has been having.

Jackline Brown (J.B.) is their teenage daughter at the age of 15 years and she has a big brother. He grew up and later moved from their home, got a job and is now happily married. J.B. has been sensing an increased tension between the two parents. However, of late, M.A her father has started to confide in her concerning the conflicts that he has been having with her mother. Since her high school graduation, J.B. has been worried that her parents may separate and dissolve their marriage seeking divorce afterwards. She worried about how her father may be impacted negatively in case that happens. Her grades in college have significantly dropped and she has procrastinated on finishing or completing her applications for college. She has opted to remain at home and work at the expense of attending what would be called her dream university that is Harvard law school in fear of leaving her parents with each other (Larkings, 2014)

This is a family triangulation where one individual is put in the middle of the conflict. The reason for this is that J.B. feels the need of staying at home and postponing her college education in fear of her parents dissolving their marriage. Also, her father has involved her by informing her about the issues he has been having with his wife. Divorce has been known to negatively affect the children. This happens because the child may have poor social skills and will have trouble catching up with their peers and maintaining a good relationship with them especially if they come from families that are more stable (Goldenberg, 2017).  Therefore, J.B. who is put in the middle of it is likely to be affected negatively and she may have negative perspective of how marriage is and opt never to get married in the future. Also, may drop out of school eventually if her grades keep on deteriorating (Goldenberg, 2017)

A dyad refers to a relationship that exists between two people. Nonetheless, these relationships are usually highly unstable and the involvement of a third party may help the relationship. In this case, J.B. is the third person who will help the relationship in terms of meeting the needs, overcoming the impasses as well as helping in copying particularly during stressful times. In this scenario, the parents may decide to work together for the sake of their child and meeting for her needs. Since they do not wish for their disputes to affect the future of their child, the parents may work in harmony to cater for her needs. However, the parents can also seek for help from a couple’s therapist as they have done, to help them form ways to cope with each other and save their marriage. Nevertheless, the triangulation may be unhealthy in the sense that it may cause undue stress towards the third party (Larkings, 2014). In M.A.’s family, the conflicts between the parents affect their daughter adversely, she has now decided to do away with her studies for a while, and her grades are deteriorating.

This type of triangulation is unhealthy and there are a number of ways in which it can be resolved. Firstly, the triangulated individual, J.B. can inform the two people in the dyad, who are her parents, that she refuses to discuss about the conflicts that both of them are having. She can also tell them that the relationship she has with both of them will not be changed and will continue without her being included as the referee (Larkings, 2014). She can also encourage her parents who are the two people in the dyad to talk to each other instead of projecting their conflict in an outward manner. An open, direct and honest communication is efficient and an antidote to any dysfunctional family.

A triad refers to a situation whereby two parties get into a conflict regularly and for it not to escalate to an uncontrollable point, a third party is involved, similar to triangulation. However, in a circulatory triad, the third party is regularly consulted or involved each time there is an issue and they intervene every time to resolve that problem (Larkings, 2014). However, in the scenario above, he third party in the triad would not be J.B. the teenage daughter. The reason for this is that there are some issues which she may not understand and it would require professional help to solve themselves (Larkings, 2014)

In this case, seeking professional help through booking appointments and attending a couple’s therapy sessions will help M.A. and his wife A.J., to sort out issues without involving J.B every time. However, the therapist who they see for counselling can be visited by both of the parents to help them work out their problems because a third party is required for the conflicts not to escalate to a point that would have negative repercussions such as divorce, that could affect their child.

A family therapy as well as a systematic practice will play a major role in in the emotional health of the two parents. M.A and A.J care for each other and this is reflected in the fact that they have visit a couple’s therapy. They also have been married for twenty-five years also reflects their willingness to stay in the marriage. The therapy will assist the two parents work their issues out and collaboratively cope with any misunderstanding and distress as well as pain which affects the relationship and straining the family unit.

The family therapists also can work with health professionals alongside, to address various specific conditions such as depressions, eating disorders, ADHD, as well as other conditions that may have effects which are damaging on the life of the family. Couple’s therapy is useful during the periods where a family is undergoing some sort of crisis and problems that are long standing which are taking a toll on that family. By evaluating the problems as well as providing support, the couple’s therapy can help the family understand better their functions, identify weaknesses and strengths in each other, devise strategies and set goals to resolve the issues as well as making the whole family unit more robust (Goldenberg, 2017).



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