This seminar format class is an in-depth look at family systems, including a family's developmental and life cycles. Attention will be given to various contemporary family structures with a focus on family assessment of contemporary problems such as substance abuse, domestic violence, and sexual dysfunction. Comparison of a systemic view and the traditional medically modeled psychological and psychiatric view will be addressed. Students will also study the assessment of families through the use of standardized instruments. This class fulfills the additional requirements needed for the LMFT.
Admission to the Couple and Family Sequence, or consent of instructor, and Coun 420.
Gottman, J. M. & Silver, N. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage
Work. Three Rivers Press.
Walsh, F. (Ed.) (1993). Normal Family Process. New York: Guilford Press.
Touliatos, J., Perlmuter, B.F., & Straus, M.A. (Eds.). (1990). Handbook of Family Measurement Techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
MODE OF INSTRUCTION
Lecture, dialogue and student research in teams will complement each other.
This course will prepare the student for an understanding of:
1. The intergenerational development of family
2. The process of family development across the life cycle.
3. Issues and variations of family life.
4. Comparison of differences in the life cycle of various types of family structures.
6. Systems concepts as applied to larger and smaller systems, investigating properties and processes that are common to all.
7. Use of assessment instruments used with couples, families, and pre-marital couples.
9. Assessment and basic systemic treatment strategies used with families experiencing a family member exhibiting substance abuse.
10. Assessment and basic systemic treatment strategies used with couples experiencing a sexual dysfunction.
11. Assessment and basic systemic treatment strategies used with families experiencing violence.
COURSE OUTLINE AND DESCRIPTION
This course will take an in-depth look at systemic ideas, both in the natural world, and as they apply to human families. The family life cycle, a developmental perspective of family growth, and the process of systems as they change will be looked at in depth. Contemporary family stressors such as substance abuse, domestic violence, and sexual dysfunction will be examined with regard to assessment, and basic treatment strategies will be discussed. The student will also be introduced to several family assessment instruments and their operation, and will be required to use one of these with a family.
Course work will include:
1. Read selected chapters from the texts,
and be prepared to take an active role in class discussions. A brief
synopsis of the articles you read will be due on the day that topic is
discussed. In groups of two, you
will lead the group discussion of varies assigned readings.
2. Team Family Assessment. In teams, students will investigate a family using at least three different assessment devises and a genogram, and will present an in depth case study of between 8 and 10 pages, co-authored.
3. Contemporary Family Research. In teams, students will investigate one of the following family types and present their findings to the class: Same-sex couple/family, single parent family, step/blended family, two parent intact family, older delayed parents family, unmarried family, families constellating around a chronic illness, etc. This work is to include theory and a case study application and will be between 8 and 10 pages, co-authored.
4. Contemporary Family Dysfunction Assessment and Treatment. In teams, students will choose and study one of the following family systems dysfunctions: Substance abuse in a family context, domestic violence, child or adolescent problems, i.e., Opposition Defiant Disorder, failure in school, delinquency, or sexual relationships problems such as impotency or vaginismus. Your findings will be reported to the class, and should include a comparison with a traditional model, and a proposed preventative model. This works is to be between 8 and10 pages, co-authored.
5. A two to three page paper, utilizing systemic ideas, students will describe themselves as a tessera within the mosaic of their group, and how your group developed and worked together as a systemic. This paper is to be and individual reflection, not a co-authored paper.
Concepts of use for all the papers might include: linear vs. circular causality, equafinality, homeostatic vs. homeodynamic, complimentary relationship, mutual constraint, holon, entropy and negentropy, isomorphism, self-corrective feedback loop, cybernetics, error activated, recursion, nested systems, autopoiesis, second-order cybernetics, and multiverse.
Grading will be based on the following.
Team Family Assessment paper
20 % of Grade
Contemporary Family Research paper 20 % of Grade
Contemporary Family Dysfunction Assessment 20 % of Grade
and Treatment paper
Individual Reflections paper. 20 % of Grade
Leading of group discussions 20% of Grade
100 - 95 = A
94 - 85 = B
84 - 75 = C
Below 74 = Fail
Week Subject matter Reading
1. Introduction and Overview of Systemic Processes -
2. Normal Family Process Walsh, Chs. 1 & 6
3. Normal Family Process Walsh, Ch. 7 &8
4. Normal Family Process Walsh, Chs. 10-11
Contemporary Family Research
Walsh, Ch. 13 & 14
paper due Discussion
Family Assessment, Part 1
A Family-of-Origin Scale Hovestadt, et al. (1985)
The Circumplex Model Walsh, Ch 2
Family Assessment, Part 2
Walsh, Ch 3 &4
Family Assessment Measure III Handouts
8. Family Assessment Part 3
Domestic Violence Guest Speaker -
read two articles from list
9. Family Assessment Part 4
Substance Abuse Guest Speaker -
read two articles from list
10. Family Life Cycle, Part I Gottman,
Coupling and Part I
Human Sexual Dysfunction read two articles from list
11. Contemporary Family Dysfunction Discussion
Assessment and Treatment paper due
12. Family Life Cycle, Part II Gottman, ,
Life with children Part II
13. Family Life Cycle, Part III Gottman,
Retirement and beyond Part III
14. Team Family Assessment Presentations due
15. Team Family Assessment Presentations due
16. Conclusion of class
Individual Reflections paper due
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