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Reflection on conjoint family therapy - Essay Example

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Various family therapies have been used and developed in the past, some of the most prominent ones include; collaborative therapy, done by two therapists separately on each spouse, and individual therapies where each spouse see the therapist separately (Ishizuka 1979, p.311). As…
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Various family therapies have been used and developed in the past, some of the most prominent ones include; collaborative therapy, done by two therapists separately on each spouse, and individual therapies where each spouse see the therapist separately (Ishizuka 1979, p.311). As far as family therapies go, I consider conjoint family therapy is the most important and influential way of dealing with social and psychological problems on a family scale. This mode of counseling and therapy is normally focused on families, couples or people in intimate relationships and all members receive counseling at the same time. Indeed some of the purist therapists cannot acquiescence to commence with a session unless the whole family is present.
This therapy exists on the premises that the whole family is the client hence anything less than that is underrepresentation. For the family to heal, it is hence essential that the ailing relationships must be present in the room while therapy is conducted, necessitating the presence of the whole family (Satir 1983, p.66). The symptoms of family pain manifest themselves in one member of the family; these then affect the other members in different forms causing the ultimate breakdown. This has been used with considerable success, to deal with problems such as alcoholism where one member’s addiction affects the entire family (Piercy, Sprenkle, Wetchler 1996, p.320,).
One of the major advantages of conjoint family therapy is that it helps create a natural environment for children to express themselves in therapy. Young children often appear to have psychological problems, but these are normally reactions to a troubled environment. Bearing in mind that the child’s primary environment is the family, often family problems Cause his /her discomfiture. As such, the family as a unit will have to heal so the child’s problems can be solved
Since children are often not very articulate, individual therapy can be intimidating, and they may be overwhelmed by therapy whose cause they may not even comprehend. This will devalue the therapy, creates the impression that there may be something wrong with him/her hence, and as a result create psychological new problem (Kafka, 2012). Besides, it is crucial that the parents support therapists’ work, and if they are not aware of what the child has learnt through therapy, they might reverse the improvements. This can occur inadvertently through their behavior especially if it is the course of the child requiring therapy in the first place.
Conjoint therapy is advantageous over the other therapies since if, for instance, a couple visits the same therapists but different times, each of them may present facts according to their bias or deliberately lie which would not be possible with the other spouse present. As a result, the therapist will not be sure who is telling the truth and might spend much of their time trying to figure this out. However, in conjoint therapy, all parties are present and they are able to discuss issues and confront each other making it easy for the therapist to verify facts. Furthermore, should individual therapy hit an impasse, the conjoint therapy is the next viable option, in fact, the impasse could have most probably been avoided if the couple had started out with conjoint therapy in the first place (Ishizuka 1979, p.312).
Nonetheless, despite conviction that conjoint therapy is the best and most practical therapy for both couples and entire families, there are circumstances in which it cannot be applied. This includes situations when couples get uncontrollable and frequently attack each other making objectivity impossible while they are in the same room. In such cases, this method is often substituted or integrated with other counseling techniques in a form of combined treatment.
Ishizuka, Y. (1979). "Conjoint Therapy for Marital Problems", Psychiatric Annals, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 36-37, 41-45, 49.
Kafka, P. (2008). “Conjoint Family Therapy, Why Therapy that Involves the Family Is Excellent for Children”. Psychology. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 24/09/2012]
Piercy, F. P., Sprenkle, D. H., Wetchler, J. L. and Associates. (1996). Family Therapy Sourcebook, Second Edition. New York: Guilford Press.
Satir, V. (1983). Conjoint family therapy (3rd ed.). California: Science and Behavior Books. Read More
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