Family Therapy Over Time
In Family Therapy Over Time, 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. Although family therapists ideally want to involve as many family members in the therapy as possible, family therapy may be conducted with a single client. Whether working with one client or a family unit, therapists look at the family system, as well as the community, school, or work systems, to determine ways to help clients improve their lives.
In this series of six sessions, Dr. McDaniel works with a mother, father, and one of their daughters, a teenager from the mother's previous marriage. The family presents with what they call a communication breakdown between the daughter and her mother, as well as with conflict over the daughter's sexual activity with her boyfriend.
In the early sessions, Dr. McDaniel gathers information from the family to create a genogram—a diagram that depicts the family genealogical relationships and the history and quality of those relationships. In ongoing sessions, the genogram will help Dr. McDaniel and the family understand how the system of interactions in the immediate family and in past generations may contribute to the issues they are presently working on.