Read “Topic 4: Vargas Family Case Study.” Write a 750-1,000-word paper in which you demonstrate how therapists apply structural family therapy theory to analyze the presenting problems and choose appropriate interventions. Be sure to answer the following questions in your paper: Cite at least three academic sources (peer-reviewed journal articles, books, etc.). Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.
In this assignment, we will be examining how therapists apply a structural family therapy theory to analyze presenting problems and choose appropriate interventions in the Vargas Family Case Study. Structural family therapy is a therapeutic approach that focuses on the structure of the family system and aims to bring about positive change by restructuring dysfunctional family patterns and interactions (Minuchin, 1974).
One of the presenting problems in the Vargas Family Case Study is the communication issues between family members, particularly between Juan, the father, and his oldest daughter, Carla. According to the case study, Juan and Carla frequently engage in heated arguments that escalate to the point of physical aggression. To analyze this problem from a structural family therapy perspective, the therapist would assess the roles, boundaries, and hierarchies within the family system (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2013).
In the Vargas family, it appears that Juan is the dominant figure who sets the rules and controls the family dynamics. This power dynamic might be contributing to the communication issues between Juan and Carla. By addressing the imbalance of power and the rigidity of family roles, a therapist employing structural family therapy would aim to create a more equitable and open communication system within the family (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2013).
To address this issue, the therapist might choose interventions such as joining, enacting, and reframing (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2013). Joining involves the therapist actively engaging with the family members to establish rapport and form alliances, which can help facilitate change. In the Vargas case, the therapist may join the family by building a therapeutic alliance with Juan and Carla separately and then together, creating a collaborative atmosphere for problem-solving and communication.
Enacting is another intervention that the therapist could use to address the communication problems in the Vargas family. Enacting involves the therapist actively restructuring family interactions to promote healthier communication patterns. The therapist might initiate role plays or enactments to help Juan and Carla practice effective listening and communication skills, allowing them to experience new ways of relating to one another.
Furthermore, reframing can be used as an intervention to help the family members reframe their perception of the communication difficulties. The therapist might help Juan and Carla understand that their high-conflict arguments are a result of systemic issues rather than personal attacks. By recontextualizing the problem in this way, it becomes easier to identify and change dysfunctional patterns of interaction (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2013).
Another presenting problem in the Vargas Family Case Study is the issue of parenting and discipline. The case study mentions that Juan and Isabel, the mother, have differing parenting styles, with Juan being more authoritarian and Isabel being more permissive. This difference in parenting styles can create confusion and inconsistency for the children, leading to behavioral problems.
To analyze this issue from a structural family therapy perspective, the therapist would examine the boundaries and hierarchies within the family system. In this case, it seems that Juan has taken on the role of the strict disciplinarian, while Isabel has taken on a more passive role. This imbalance in roles and inconsistent discipline can contribute to behavioral issues in the children.
To address this problem, the therapist may choose interventions such as boundary making and restructuring (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2013). Boundary making involves helping the family members define and maintain appropriate boundaries in their interactions. The therapist might work with Juan and Isabel to establish clear boundaries around discipline and decision-making, ensuring that both parents are involved in setting limits and enforcing consequences.
Restructuring is another intervention that may be used to address the parenting and discipline issue in the Vargas family. Restructuring involves redefining the family hierarchy and redistributing power and decision-making. The therapist might help Juan and Isabel develop a more balanced and collaborative parenting style, where both parents have an active role in setting rules and consequences.
In conclusion, therapists apply structural family therapy theory to analyze presenting problems and choose appropriate interventions in the Vargas Family Case Study. By examining the roles, boundaries, and hierarchies within the family system, therapists can identify potential sources of dysfunction and develop interventions to promote healthier family dynamics. Interventions such as joining, enacting, and reframing can be used to address communication issues, while interventions like boundary making and restructuring can be used to address parenting and discipline issues. Through the application of structural family therapy theory, therapists can help facilitate positive change and improve overall family functioning.