Unit 13: Marriage, Couple, And Family Counselling Flashcards Preview

Introduction To Counselling > Unit 13: Marriage, Couple, And Family Counselling > Flashcards

Flashcards in Unit 13: Marriage, Couple, And Family Counselling Deck (30):

Households that include at least three generations, such as a child/children, parents, and grandparents. This type of family sometimes includes unmarried relatives, such as aunts and uncles

Multigenerational family


Families where individuals from two different cultures unite and form a household that may or may not have children

The multicultural family


Identify at least four events that influenced the development of marriage and family counselling

At the end of World War II, the United States experienced an unsettling readjustment from work to piece that manifested itself in three trends that had an impact on family:

A sharp rise in the divorce rate, which took place almost simultaneously with the baby boom beginning in 1946

The changing role of women. After World War II, more women sought employment outside the home and became the breadwinners and the breadmakers. Traditions and expectations fell and or where expanded for women. Both men and women and families and marriages needed help in making adequate adjustments

The expansion of the lifespan. Couples found themselves living with the same partners longer than any previous time in history and many were not sure how to relate to their spouses, partners, or children over time because there were few previous models

Changes in the form, composition, structure, and emphasis of the American family


In your opinion, who were the four most important theorists or pioneers in marriage and family counselling and why?

1. Nathan Ackerman focussed the attention of a well-established form of therapy, psychoanalysis, on families who had purposely been excluded from the treatment of individual clients previously for fear that family involvement would be disruptive

2. John bell started treating families as a group and began the practice of couple/family group counselling

3. Monica McGoldrick has emphasized the importance of multi cultural factors and cultural background in treating couples and families

4. Gregory Bateson group: observed how couples and families functioned when a family member was diagnosed as schizophrenic. Came up with the number of interesting concepts such as the double bind

5. Murray Bowen went on to develop his own systemic form of treatment based on multigenerational considerations and originated a now widely popular clinical tool, the genogram


When a person receives two contradictory messages at the same time and, unable to follow both, develops physical and psychological symptoms as a way to lessen tension and escape

Double bind


A three-generational visual representation of one's family tree depicted in geometric figures, lines, and words



Ethnicity, nationality, religion, groupings such as baby boomers

Inherited cultures


Learned habits, such as those of being a counsellor

Acquired cultures


The name given to the stages a family goes through as it evolves over the years

Family life cycle


Emotional bonding in families

Family cohesion


Ability to be flexible and change in families

Family adaptability


Describe the stages of the family life cycle

The stages sometimes parallel and complement those in the individual lifecycle, but often they are unique because of the number of people involved and the diversity of tasks to be accomplished.

Nine-stage cycle:
Unattached adult, newly married, childbearing, preschool-age child, school-age Child, teenage child, launching Center, middle-age adult, retirement


Explain how two dimensions of family life, cohesion and adaptability, may relate to progress through the family life cycle.

These two dimensions each have four levels in the circumplex model of marital and family systems. The two dimensions are curvilinear in that families that apparently are very high or very low on both dimensions seem dysfunctional, whereas families that are balanced seem to function more adequately

Four levels:
Adaptability: chaotic, flexible, structured, rigid
Cohesion: Disengaged, separated, connected, and enmeshed


Why should counsellors understand the family life cycle?

When counsellors are sensitive to individual family members and the family as a whole, they are able to realize that some individual manifestations, such as depression, career indecisiveness, and substance-abuse, are related to family structure and functioning. Consequently, they are able to be more inclusive in their treatment plans


Refers to family environments in which members are overly dependent on each other or are undifferentiated



Describes family fusion situations in which the other members of the triangle pull a person in two different directions



What are the similarities and differences between marriage and family counselling versus individual and group counseling?

A major similarity centres on theories, some theories used in individual or group counselling are used with couples and families, such as person-centered, Adlerian, reality therapy, behavioural. Other approaches, such as structural, strategic, solution-focused family therapy, are unique to marriage, couple, and family counselling and are systemic in nature.

Marriage/couple/family counselling and individual counselling share a number of assumptions. Both recognize the importance the family plays in the individual's life, both focus on problem behaviours and conflicts between the individual and the environment, and both are developmental. A difference is that individual counselling usually treats the person outside his or her family, whereas marriage couple or family counselling generally include the involvement of others, usually family members. Marriage and family counselling works at resolving issues within the family as a way of helping individual members better cope with the environment.

Marriage/couple/family counselling sessions are similar to group counselling sessions in organization, basic dynamics, and stage development. Both have an interpersonal emphasis. However, the family is not like a typical group, although knowledge of the group process may be useful. For example, family members are not equal in status and power, may perpetuate myths whereas groups are initially more objective in dealing with events. More emotional baggage is also carried among family members

The emphasis of marriage and family counselling is generally on dynamics as opposed to live near causality as in much individual and some group counseling.


How does knowledge of the similarities and differences between marriage and family counselling versus individual and group counselling help a counselor?

The counsellor becomes more attuned to the family as a client and how best to work with it


An individual who is seen as the cause of trouble within the family structure, whom family members use as their ticket of entry

Identified patient


Identify and define each of the seven concepts important to understanding and working with families

Nonsummativity: The family is greater than the sum of its parts. It is necessary to examine the patterns within a family rather than the actions of any specific member alone

Equifinality: The same origin may lead to different outcomes, and the same outcome may result from different origins. For example, the family that experiences a natural disaster may become stronger or weaker as a result. Healthy families may have quite the similar backgrounds, therefore, treatment focusses on interactional family patterns rather than particular conditions or events

Communication: all behaviour is seen as communicative. It is important to attend to the two functions of interpersonal messages-content or factual information, and relationship or how the message is to be understood. The what of a message is conveyed by how it is delivered

Family rules: a family's functioning is based on explicit and implicit rules. Family rules provide expectations about roles and options that govern family life. Most families operate on a small set of predictable rules, a pattern known as the redundancy principal. To help families change dysfunctional ways of working, family counsellors have to help them to sign or expand the rules under which they operate

Morphogenesis: the ability of the family to modify it's functioning to meet the changing demands of internal and external factors. Usually requires a second order change, the ability to make an entirely new response, rather than a first order change, continuing to do more of the same things that have worked previously. Instead of just talking, family members May need to try new ways of behaving

Homeostasis: like biological organisms, families have a tendency to remain in a steady, stable state of equilibrium and less otherwise forced to change. The model is functioning can be compared to a furnace. Sometimes homeostasis can be advantageous in helping a family achieve life-cycle goals, but often it prevents the family from moving onto another stage in its development

Stress the idea of circular causality


When the counsellor establishes rapport with each person attending and the couple or family unit as a whole. This type of bonding where trust, a working relationship, and a shared agenda evolve is known as a

Therapeutic alliance

Can be created through such means as:
Maintenance-where the counsellor confirms or supports a couples or family members position
Tracking-where a counselor, through a series of clarifying questions, tracks or follows a sequence of events
Mimesis- where a counsellor adopts a couple or family style or temple of communication, such as being jovial with a lighthearted couple or family or serious with a couple or family that is sombre


The way a couple or family typically interacts on either a verbal or nonverbal level

Family dance


When some member or members of the family are blamed for the family's problems



The drawing in of a third person or party into a dyadic conflict, such as the mother enlisting the fathers support whenever she has an argument with the daughter



Questions that focus attention on couple or family connections and highlight differences among members. Broadly defines or clarifies what is happening in the couple or family

Circular questions

Helps counsellors and the families they work with see more of the dynamics involved in family life and me will take pressure off the person who has been seen as the problem


Couples and families that are not sure if they wish to change will often only make superficial alterations in what they do. This type of change is known as

First-order change

Example: parents setting a curfew back by an hour without any real discussion about it or the importance of a teenage daughter accepting responsibility for her actions


The type of change hoped for in couple or family therapy, where structured rules are altered

Second-order change

Example: the rigid, authoritarian family becoming more democratic by adopting new rules regarding family interactions after everyone has had a chance to make suggestions and give input in regards to them


Identify and describe the four phases of marriage, couple, and family counselling

1. Precession planning: before a couple or family is seen for counseling, several matters should be addressed including the expectations the caller has for an initial session or for treatment in general. The counsellor must listen carefully and obtain essential clinical information, such as a concise description of the problem, and factual information, such as the caller's name, address, and phone number. The counsellor should listen for what is conveyed as well as what is not said, in doing so, the counsellor can begin to hypothesize about issues that are prevailant in certain family life stages and cultural traditions as they may relate to the callers family.
By the end of the initial phone call, an appointment should be scheduled

Initial sessions: the most critical in regard to whether counsellors have success therapeutically with couples and families. A good beginning is for the counsellor to establish report with each person, a therapeutic alliance. The counsellor should engage the couple or family and its members enough to gain a perspective on how individuals view presenting problem, person, or situation. This perspective is called a frame. The counsellor asked circular questions. The cancer develops the capacity to draw some initial conclusions in regard to the way the couple or family behaves and can gauge the dimensions of boundaries and the intimacy and power in the family.
The first sessions are ones in which a counsellor evaluate how the coupler family is functioning and what may need to be done to help the relationship run more smoothly. Tentative goals are set and a return appointment is made

The middle phase: consists of those sessions between the initial sessions and termination and where the couple or family will most likely make needed changes in themselves, if they change at all.
The couples or families and the counsellor explore new behaviours and take chances. First order and hopefully second-order changes occur. The counsellor stays active mentally, verbally, and behaviourally and make sure the couple or family goes beyond merely understanding what they need to do because cognitive knowledge alone seldom produces change. The counsellor links the couple or family with appropriate outside agencies if possible
It is crucial that the counsellor not get ahead of the couple or family members. A way to keep them engaged and to make progress is to give them homework, psychoeducational assignments, which they complete together

Termination: the final phase of treatment. There is no one person who should start the process or one single way the termination should be conducted. It should not be sudden and should not be seen as the highlight of counselling but is designed to provide a counsellor and a couple or family with closure. Should be a means to assess whether couple or family goals have been reached.
Counsellor should make sure that Work is summarized and celebrated if appropriate. Should decide on long-term goals and predicting setbacks. A final part of termination is follow up, checking up on the couple or family following treatment after a period of time


What are the four premises of successful marriage or family counseling?

1. Persons conducting the counselling are psychologically healthy and understand their own families of origin well

2. Counsellors will not overemphasize or underemphasize possible aspects or interventions in the therapeutic process. Counsellors will balance but they do not being overly concerned about making family members happy but at the same time engaging members in a personable way

3. For the counsellor to win the battle for structure or establish the parameters under which counselling is conducted, while letting the family win the battle for initiative or motivation to make needed changes.

4. Counsellors need to be able to see the couple or family difficulties in the context in which they are occurring. The counsellor needs to be developmentally sophisticated on multiple levels of life and have some life experiences including resolving toxic or adversarial conditions in less than ideal conditions


A family consisting of a core unit of husband, wife, and their children

Nuclear family