The David Family Case Family Theory: In my reading about the structural model I recalled Munich because like myself his first concern was problem focused within the context of the family structure (Goldenberg 2000). “‘ have always felt that if a child is having constant escalating behaviors of tantrums after the age of four there has to be a problem within the family structure. And so in hearing from therapist of who would many times in the past visit only with children and not the parents of families.
This would really sound an alarm with me but since I lacked the understanding in the mental field I would asked the question of their knowledge in child development and the family as the root of guiding a child’s first developmental years. I also remember reading about Munchies work and his vast array of experiences for example; Munich his practiced in pediatrics, his time volunteered in the army as a Doctor during Israel’s war in 1948, he was a child psychiatrist in the United States working with families in poverty and those who had multiple problems, disconnected structures and displaced children from the Holocaust.
His heart to volunteer and research these problematic issues revealed to me his passion and heart for the family as a unit. In my personal experience as an Early Childhood Specialist working with families with children of trauma I often found myself being approached by clinicians who were working with young children yet lacked to understand the details of the early developmental domains. I wondered if they understood temperament, parenting styles or the developmental milestones like, social/emotional patterns, independence, problem solving or attachment and bonding.
Clinicians would see toddlers displaying very angry levels of behavior not recognizing they were frustrated simply because they were delayed in their speech, disengaged with their parents, or in a reign land that developed psychological stresses. So as I reviewed the David case I first observed that the structural of the family system; that being, mom, dad and children who had been interrupted by time the hierarchy currently being the grandparents, and the parental roles. This was the root in the context of this families transaction patterns that needed to be changed according to Munchies major thesis of the structural model (peg. 94). This theory looks into the relationships, the organization of the family structure having to due with family roles, rules within this system, boundaries’ and wholeness. It also emphasizes on the wholeness of the family system, the influence the family hierarchical organization and the interdependent functioning of its subsystem’s for the wellbeing if each individual that consist of the whole family system. In this theory enmeshment is common and the family system is functioning at a dysfunctional level for the lack of boundaries, for inhibiting individual autonomy, and for disruptions in the parental subsystem.
This theory reminds me of a sports; for example, baseball in expressing my complete understanding of this theory I will relate it to this sport. In the game of baseball it does consist of organization of each individuals place in order to function successfully as a whole team. The pitcher and the catcher are like the parents in the family. If they lack to understand their roles and that of their team-members then the whole game will be disorganized and interrupted by a loss and results in very angry, frustrated and confused emotions. What to do? What interventions will the coach implement?
In my case what will I implement according to my chosen theory? Alignment, Power, and Coalitions: The David family came to therapy due to their enmeshed family. The parents were having problems in their relationships with their seven and eight year old children who were throwing full blown tantrums consistently, some examples of this manifestation where the children hitting their heads on the walls or vomiting also not listening to their parents instructions and expressing anger at their parents by physically kicking them during these escalating behaviors.
As Munich puts it,” this alternated the patterns in the Davit’s family structure they went without consideration which caused deviation from any established family rules such as; mandarins’, a lack hierarchy, the interdependent functioning, and the wholeness of the family system (Goldenberg 2000). ” The results became the resistance of the children making a healthy family connection with their parents. This is how my back- round training in child development will aid me as a future clinician.
If the child lacks to build a trusting and secure relationships with their parents becoming that secure base in order for the child to become a healthy separated individual then a sense of loss and fear will result therefore displaying itself as in the Davit’s hillside’s case. As a therapist I would first look into the family strengths, in this case the David family taking the step to seek out therapy without it being forced upon them due to an outside report such as D. S. S. I would praise them for taking the first step then observe the spousal, parental and siblings subsystems in this family.
In observing this at the first session I could recognize that as the mother expressed her emotions the children and father displayed empathy as they all tried to comfort the mother. The father stepped in and gave instructions to the children who followed wrought it revealed that they did have some understanding for father’s hierarchy in this role. This was a psychosomatic family that was enmeshed yet their quick response to comfort the mother here also revealed that they were not disengaged. That showed me that they would be willing to negotiate differences.
Within this family it was clear that alignments were off and needed to be put back together by joining its forces by positive activities that engaged in quality time spent. It was the long parental working hours in the Davit’s family that disrupted the emotional and psychological connections that members should make with one another. This was the power that was displaced here and instead because of the work demand was given over to the grandparents which caused stressed in the children producing escalating behaviors towards parents.
In my understanding the grandparents where the third party alliances between the parent and children which Munich refers to as the coalitions. The grandparents became the dominant part of this family that detoured the power from the parents as the children cried out for their grandparents rather than parents during a place that seemed foreign to them. This resulted in conflicts that placed added stressed on the family systems. Intervention: The David family needs to be realigned, new boundaries’ must be set in place and reframing must be worked into this family system.
I will use the vignette as an example therapy session and how I would guide it using Munchies structural therapy. Children are anxious and wondering the office asking to go home crying for their grandparents, they seek each other for comfort rather than parents, parents become embarrassed. Children engage with therapist asking to play with toys, mother becomes emotional children and husband respond. I would greet all by name shaking each individual’s hands and then ask mom and dad what they would eke to play with their children today.
Knowing that the children are engaging with me as their therapist and interested in my toys this would be used as my intervention tools in order to have the family enact a typical family conflict. Upon children calling out crying for their grandparents I would first validate their state of disconnectedness from grandparents yet redirect them by saying, ” look today mommy and daddy wants your time to play with them and they want to play with some of my toys. Children cry say no and began hugging each other rather than parents I would then start to realign the family roles by guiding children towards arenas for comfort rather than depending on each other when parents are available. I would do this by having kneel at children’s level asking them for permission to comfort them. As mother becomes anxious and emotional and father instructs children to leave mommy alone upon them trying to comfort her, I would intervene by saying to children, “k well mommy and daddy need some time while you both decide on a game to play with them but then Daddy would love for you both to help comfort your mommy. This will model time and respect given to the hierarchy of the family that being mom and dad yet allow children time for individual mime for choice and space. This would also allow parents to see the importance of setting proper structure, roles, and respectful boundaries’ in place. My hope would be to have the family engage in its normal family conflicts. I would do this by either playing a game relating to the last conflict such as the children not wanting to go to bed or take a bath.
My session would go something like this. “Children play a game of wants, dodos and don’t, I would ask each individual to tell me what you want to today, what you will do today and what you don’t you want to do today? This would e done for each family member (with specific instructions in the beginning that whatever don’t want to be done everyone must laugh at the end for them, then try doing those don’t by adding something fun. In this case you don’t want to take a bath but how can you make it fun? The past tantrums could be realigned by making boundaries’ fun thereby inventing new boundaries’ and replacing them with parental time with children that will help airframe the family structure. The past rules in the David family consisted of the grandparents filling in the place of parents, the parents jack to consider the importance of time spent with their children gave up their parental power as that secure base and trusting relationship with their children.
My hope is that the engagements of family time spent together would build each individuals self-esteem and confidence as time and energy is being reciprocated here. References Goldenberg, 1. , Goldenberg, H. (2000). Family Therapy An Overview. ; . United States. Headwords, a division of Thomas Learning. Figure Captions Figure 1 . Caption of figure [Figures – note that this page does not have the manuscript header and page number]
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