Free Essay On Reviewing Articles On Family Therapy
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The following assignment will examine articles that are intended to help expand the knowledge from concepts and techniques used in working in the family therapy setting. Two separate parts to the assignment each describing a particular case is presented.
Counseling Families of Terminally Ill Patients
An area of interest in the pursuit of specializing in family counseling includes the dynamics of the families anticipating the unfortunate circumstances of losing their loved on to a terminal illness. When a family member is living with a terminal illness, naturally challenges arise for every family in how to cope with the devastating reality. The article, Understanding Family Responses to Life-Limiting Illness: In-depth Interviews with Hospice Patients and Their Family Members, from the Journal of Palliative Care examines the dynamics of the experiences of families when death is the diagnosis. The article reviews the experience of families two weeks into the hospice care of their loved one (Waldrop, D. P., Milch, R. A., & Skretny, J. A. 2005). The goal of the study was to find a pattern through interviewing the individuals in the family of the various stages that are experienced as the end of the family member’s life nears.
The study used a qualitative method of interviewing the family as a unit as the experience of death approached. Most studies discuss the experience post death, but in this case the entire process and changes were recorded as they happened. Based on the information gathered from interviews of various individuals from the families that participated in the study, six different modes that are commonly experienced in the family were developed.
The six stages were found as:
reactive: illness generates distress;
advocacy: vulnerability ignites assertive action;
fused: illness and decline are shared;
dissonant: diametrically opposed viewpoints cause struggle;
resigned: decline and death are anticipated; and
closed: outward responses are impassive. (Waldrop, Milch, & Skretny2005).
The developments of the six stages were seen in the family dynamic that was seen in the 108 individuals who participated in the study. The order and intensity of stages differed based on the individual situations of the dying family member, but remained present in the experiences shared by each person to varying degrees.
The strategies used in this study provide a helpful outline to recognize the expected responses shared by families that are facing terminal illness. Awareness of what the signs and symptoms look like in terms of the behavioral and emotional expression of family members will be extremely helpful to implement as a tool in my practicum and internship.
Waldrop, D. P., Milch, R. A., & Skretny, J. A. (2005). Understanding family responses to life-limiting illness: In-depth int erviews with hospice patients and their family members. Journal of Palliative Care, 21(2), 88-96. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/214202092?accountid=35812
The Case of Henry
After reading about the challenges Henry is experiencing, the ideal method for his treatment seemed to be the Narrative therapy. Henry’s who is fairly traditional in his connection to his Japanese roots is not very comfortable with the idea of counseling. The narrative theory will allow his problems to be externalized, keeping his sense of self intact. He can view his childhood bullying situations and the break-up with his fiancé as an outside event that does not necessarily mean anything about him as a person. Rather they are just incidents that have happened, which gives him more power to make the changes toward a healthier mind-set.
One of the situations that hinder Henry in life is the story of his childhood where he was bullied and treated badly by peers. This situation formed a belief in how he saw himself and relates to social situation in life. By telling his childhood experience as a story, he could place himself as an observer making better sense of the situation from that angle rather than as the victim who these awful things were imposed on him. The narrative theory is a form emotional therapy used to shift the individuals feeling about a life event or circumstance (Angus, 2012).
The same concept could be applied to the way he tells himself the story relating to his fiancé who left him.
Henry needs to focus on creating the narrative of his life highlighting his strengths. His achievements of becoming a fourth degree black belt in karate is something he needs to shift his attention towards. Placing his focus and attention in another aspect of his life that brings him pride will be a useful tool in creating the new narrative that will help in his ability to develop a new meaning about his story giving him increased self-esteem (Greenberg, 2004).
The primary issue in use of this theory alone is of ignoring the possible physiological issues of chemical imbalances in Henry’s biology that could go untreated. An evaluation with a psychiatrist may be a wise option in consideration of a holistic approach to Henry’s path toward healing.
Angus, L. (2012). Toward an integrative understanding of narrative and emotion processes in
emotion-focused therapy of depression: Implications for theory, research and practice.
Psychotherapy Research, 22(4), 367-380.
Greenberg, L. S. (2004). Emotion–focused therapy. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy,
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