In Family Therapy, William J. Doherty and Susan H. McDaniel discuss the history, theory, and practice of this systems-oriented therapy. There are many different types of family therapy, but at the heart of each is systems theory, a model that arose from the fields of biology, physics, chemistry, and cybernetics.
The main clinical precept of family systems theory is that individual problems must be understood within their larger family and environmental systems, which often provide the key to successful treatment. Family therapy provides a way of thinking in systemic, relational terms, and a set of strategies for intervening with individuals, couples, families, and other systems. Whether the client is a large family or a single person, family therapy focuses on changing relational interactions.
In addition to this relationship focus, family therapy considers biological, environmental, and cultural influences on the client. Ultimately, this systemic way of thinking—essentially a model for understanding the complex relations that make up the world—can help therapists of all orientations in their practice.
In this book, Dr. Doherty and Dr. McDaniel present and explore this approach, its theory, history, the therapy process, primary change mechanisms, empirical basis, and future developments. This essential primer to family therapy, amply illustrated with case examples, is perfect for graduate students studying theories of therapy and counseling as well as for seasoned practitioners interested in understanding this approach.
- The Therapy Process
- Future Developments
Glossary of Key Terms
About the Authors
William J. Doherty, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Family Social Science and former director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Minnesota. He also directs the Citizen Professional Center.
He is author or editor of 15 books, including Soul Searching and Medical Family Therapy (with Susan McDaniel and Jeri Hepworth). Among his awards is the Significant Contribution to the Field of Marriage and Family Therapy.
His current work focuses on community organizing and grassroots democracy in health care and human services.
Susan H. McDaniel, PhD, is the Dr. Laurie Sands Distinguished Professor of Families & Health, the director of the Institute for the Family in the Department of Psychiatry, and the associate chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York.
She is the author of 12 books, among them with Jeri Hepworth and William Doherty, Medical Family Therapy and The Shared Experience of Illness, and with other coauthors Primary Care Psychology and Individuals, Families, and the New Genetics. She is a past editor of the journal, Families, Systems & Health, and currently associate editor of American Psychologist.
Dr. McDaniel has received many awards, most recently the Cummings/APF Psyche Award for innovations in integrated care.
- Family Therapy Over Time
In this video, Dr. Susan H. McDaniel demonstrates this approach to working with clients. Family therapy focuses on changing interactions among people so as to alleviate a client family's presenting problem.