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Structural Family Therapy

Essay by   •  March 14, 2017  •  Research Paper  •  1,605 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,066 Views

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Arron Williams

PY526

Structural Family Theory

          Structural Family Therapy (SFT) is a model of treatment that was developed primarily at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic under the leadership of Salvador Minuchin. Based on systems theory, the model’s distinctive features are its emphases on structural change as the main goal of therapy and on the therapist as an active agent in the process of restructuring the family. (Miller, 2011).  In structure family therapy you need to understand the roles of each individual as well as how they interact. Minuchin is considered the father of structural family therapy.  However, some think that Minuchin model just focused on the traditional family.   Contemporary criticisms of structural family therapy suggest that Minuchin’s model is not well-suited for many modern families that differ from the traditional, western, two parent family (Cottrell & Boston, 2002).  The structure of a family has gotten much more complicated because of changes in the way the family is made up.  In this paper I will discuss how the traditional family has changed and the impact it has on society.  Traditional roles have change in families because the traditional families have changed.  There are many factors that have made the traditional family structure shrink.  Divorce has risen throughout the years creating more single parents, and same sex parents.

         The rise of divorce has created more single parent households.  When a household goes from having both parents to a single parent, roles have to be reassigned.  The structure of the family will change.  The role of the parent will be that of the breadwinner as well as the nurturer.  This is a problem for some because some parents have never played that role so it tends to fall on the children or not be done.  In some family structure the oldest child picks up some of the roles the absent parent use to do.  An example is that a child will pick up younger siblings, or help prepare meals because the parent has to work.  This sometimes affects the children because they are asked to change their role.  Stereotypically children are asked to do chores and focus on school.  When a child is asked to step-up and take on other important roles as well as maintain there other role there sometimes are problems.  There is a lot of pressure put on the child because they are going to have to give up a lot to try and help balance the structure of the family and on top of that they have to deal with the divorce.  In many cases everyone in the family makes sacrifices and the family structure is able to balance out, but not in all cases.  

          I have a friend who is a product of divorce and he explained to me how difficult it was for him to accept his new roles.  He expressed to me that first he was so mad at his mother that he didn’t want to help her because he felt that she was the reason that his father left.  He shared with me that most of his free time was gone.  He was now ask to step up and do the things his father use to do and some of the things his mother use to do because she had to work.  He told me that he didn’t want to accept his new role, but he had to because of his siblings.  He told me that he made sure everything was okay for his younger siblings, but he was upset.  He told me that he was upset that he had to miss out on so much to become the man of the family.  He told me that he never wanted to have that role, but he knew he had to accept it.  He shared with me that they made it work, but his relationship with his mother suffered.  He shared with me that it was hard on his mother because she had to go back to work and she was able to spend as much time with the kids as she wanted.  He told me that his mother and little sisters use to always cook together and go to the museum, but after she got the job she was always tired.  He also expressed to me that money was not great because his father was not really contributing.  He told me he didn’t understand how hard his mother had it because he was so mad.  He told me it took him years to understand that what she asked of him was for the family and not to punish him.  He expressed to me that with the help of counseling, him and his mother are becoming close again.  

         

          Same sex union has also challenged the traditional family.  In same sex marriages, it still has to be a division of roles.  No matter if its two men or women roles are still define as in heterosexual relationships.  Most studies show surprisingly few differences between committed gay couples and committed straight couples. Pope-Parker. Tara (2008).  One of the main differences is that same sex marriages tend to be more of a equal partnership compare to traditional marriages.  In the traditional marriage the man is usually the breadwinner, while the woman is the caregiver.  In heterosexual couples, women did far more of the housework; men were more likely to have the financial responsibility; and men were more likely to initiate sex, while women were more likely to refuse it or to start a conversation about problems in the relationship.  Pope-Parker. Tara (2008).   While in same sex marriages there are more likely to share in the work more equally.  I have a friend who just married his partner and they recently adopted an infant.  They work and make a good living, as well as, share in the duties of caring for their child.  I have noticed that they share in their duties more.  It seems like they want to be a part of each other and the child’s life.  I’ve noticed that they both change diapers and get cook.  They both are career oriented and family oriented.  It seems like they really have a partnership established.  I am sure that have certain defined roles, but what ever they are it seems to be working.  In there relationship no one is asked to do it all.  It is not one caregiver or one breadwinner and I think that is great because I feel that can lead to issues in the family structure.   While the gay and lesbian couples had about the same rate of conflict as the heterosexual ones, they appeared to have more relationship satisfaction, suggesting that the inequality of opposite-sex relationships can take a toll.  Pope-Parker. Tara (2008).  

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