Chapter 14

Chapter Fourteen Objectives: Family Therapy

Click here to download PowerPoint slides for this chapter.

Knowledge (Declarative Knowledge)

By the end of this chapter you should possess declarative knowledge about:
  1. How family therapy differs from individual therapy as a social work method of    direct practice
  2. How family therapy differs from family and child welfare services (chapter 16)
  3. When family therapy is the appropriate method of choice
  4. Who the client is in family therapy e.g. differentiate the designated help seeker, the     index person, and the family as a whole
  5. The difference between linear causality and mutual causality
  6. The 10 premises of general systems theory
  7. The 6 stages of family life cycle development
  8. Predictable and unpredictable life stressors
  9. Horizontal and vertical stressors and their intersect
  10. How families structure their relationships as systems: the family as the focal system,        suprasystems (outside the family), subsystems (within the family)
  11. Patterns of interactions within the family and between the family and those outside it.
  12. Explicit and implicit family norms
  13. Intergenerational emotional transmission
  14. Four theory-based models of family therapy: (a) family systems theory      derived from general systems theory, (b) family life cycle development derived from            psychodynamic development theory, (c) Bowen"s family therapy derived from object      relations theory and (d) structural-strategic family therapy
  15. The therapeutic processes (assessment concepts and intervention techniques) that     differentiate one model of family therapy from another
  16. Cultural diversity (and bias) when selecting and using a model of family therapy
  17. The empirical evidence that supports one family therapy model over another

Skills (Application of Knowledge- Procedural and Tacit Knowing)

By the end of this chapter you should demonstrate beginning familiarity with competent family therapy by being able to:
  1. Draw a family genogram
  2. Draw a family ecomap
  3. Use the decision schema in this chapter to guide your choice and use of a model of        family therapy
  4. Note: Further skill development in family therapy requires additional course work and placement and supervision within a family therapy setting


  1. Be aware of the ethical issues involved in the use of family therapy as a method of clinical social work practice
  2. Appreciate that family therapy is a specialization that requires setting-specific     placements and course specialization
  3. Regard the models of family therapy as having value equal to one another and to other methods of clinical practice and differential value in their proper or improper application

Website Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy
Please send comments or suggestions about this Website to