Read “Topic 5: Vargas Family Case Study.” Write a 750-1,00…

Read “Topic 5: Vargas Family Case Study.” Write a   750-1,000-word paper in which you demonstrate how therapists apply   Strategic Family Therapy theories 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.

Title: Strategic Family Therapy Applied in the Vargas Family Case Study


Strategic Family Therapy (SFT) is an approach to family therapy that emphasizes brief and focused interventions to resolve specific issues within the family system. By analyzing the presenting problems and choosing appropriate interventions, therapists using SFT aim to bring about desired changes in the family dynamics. This paper will examine how therapists apply SFT theories in the Vargas Family Case Study, addressing the presenting problems and proposing suitable interventions.

Identifying Presenting Problems

The Vargas Family Case Study presents several challenging issues. The presenting problems can be categorized into two main areas: communication difficulties and role confusion. Communication problems are evident in the difficulties the family encounters in expressing their needs, understanding each other’s perspectives, and resolving conflicts effectively. There is also a sense of role confusion, as the family members struggle to define and maintain their individual roles within the family system.

Applying SFT Theories

To address these presenting problems effectively, therapists employing SFT focus on strategic and solution-oriented interventions. These interventions are designed to bring about change and improve family functioning.

1. Communication Difficulties

The therapist would adopt a strategic approach to address communication difficulties in the Vargas family. This approach involves identifying and modifying the family’s patterns of communication that contribute to the conflicts and misunderstandings. Techniques commonly used may include reframing, prescribing the symptom, and metaphorical communication (Haley, 1976).

Reframing: The therapist reframes the family’s problems in a way that challenges their negative attributions and promotes new perspectives. For instance, when the family members engage in blaming and accusatory language, the therapist might reframe their statements to highlight underlying needs or concerns.

Prescribing the Symptom: The therapist might assign tasks or activities to the family members that challenge their dysfunctional communication patterns. This can help create new opportunities for healthier interactions and assist in breaking the negative cycles.

Metaphorical Communication: The therapist can utilize metaphors and storytelling to facilitate communication and deepen the family’s understanding. By providing alternative perspectives through metaphors, the therapist encourages the family to view their problems in a new light and find creative solutions.

2. Role Confusion

To address the role confusion within the Vargas family, the therapist would focus on clarifying and reassigning roles. This involves empowering each family member to take on a defined role and establish clear boundaries. Several SFT techniques can be applied in this context.

Ordeals and Challenges: Ordeals or challenges are a SFT technique designed to prompt change by forcing a shift in roles within the family. The therapist may assign specific tasks or actions to each family member that disrupt the existing role behaviors and promote the development of new roles.

Positive Reinforcement: By providing positive reinforcement for desired behaviors and role functions, the therapist can encourage and reward the family members’ efforts to establish and maintain their roles. This approach helps solidify healthy role behaviors and discourage role confusion.

Externalizing the Problem: By externalizing the problem, the therapist helps the family view the role confusion as something separate from themselves. This allows them to work together to address the problem rather than blaming individual family members. The therapist might use techniques like scaling questions to gauge the family’s perception of the issue and encourage collaborative problem-solving.

Proposed Interventions

Based on the presenting problems and the application of SFT theories, the following interventions are proposed for the Vargas family:

1. Communication Difficulties
– Implement a reframing technique to challenge negative attributions and foster empathy and understanding within the family.
– Assign “communication challenges” that promote active listening and positive communication styles, encouraging family members to express their needs effectively.

2. Role Confusion
– Utilize the ordeal technique to disrupt existing role behaviors and encourage the development of new, healthier roles.
– Use positive reinforcement to encourage and reward family members for their efforts to establish and maintain their roles.
– Externalize the role confusion problem to promote collaborative problem-solving and reduce blame.


Strategic Family Therapy offers a comprehensive and brief approach to analyzing and resolving presenting problems within the family system. By prioritizing change and focusing on specific interventions, therapists can help families like the Vargas family overcome communication difficulties and role confusion. By adopting the strategies outlined above, therapists can promote positive changes in the family dynamics, leading to healthier family functioning and improved relationships.

References (in APA format):

Haley, J. (1976). Problem-solving therapy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.