Family Subsystem Paper

8 August 2016

This family system seen within the movie is unique in the way it works or in this case, doesn’t work. Because that is the case, it is important to see the family not with eyes of the status quo but with non-judging eyes that see something that works, despite the seemingly chaotic way in which it goes about doing it. This is where tools come into play for counselors who generally work with family units. The most used tools are that of the genogram.

When using the genogram, one usually looks at the family over the most current three generations. “In taking a genogram one inquires systematically into family patterns among aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. , in an attempt to gather information about patterns of closeness, distance and conflict (Wachtel, 1982). ” That being said, there are four family units present within the move Parenthood (1989).

Family Subsystem Paper Essay Example

There is Frank and Marilyn and their four children Susan, Gil, Larry and Helen Buckman, there is Susan and Nathan Huffner and their daughter Patty, Larry and his son Cool, Helen and her ex-husband Edward and her two children Garry and Julie, Julie herself and her boyfriend turned husband Tod and lastly, Gil and his wife Karen and their three children Kevin, Taylor and Justin. The last family unit, that of Gil and his wife Karen, is the one that this paper will be focusing on. About Family Unit

This family unit consists of two adults, Gil and Karen, and their three children, Kevin, their oldest son, Taylor their middle child and only daughter and Justin their youngest son; they also have a fourth child on the way. While this family looks crazy on the outside, it does have a method to the madness for those inside the family. Just like the three children that Gil and his wife Karen have raised, their family as a unit will hit and go through stages, both good and bad, and survive or not based on how well their family holds together.

From an outsiders look, Gil and his wife, who are in the mid-30s to early 40s, play an active role in their children’s lives and like any good parents, worry about their children. They communicate well with each other and their family and have a healthy and respectful relationship. This, however, is shadowed by the family’s oldest son Kevin who is experiencing problems at school. I saw that Gil and his eldest are very much alike in that they both like things a certain way and have a hard time dealing with things that change the way they like things.

Because of the type of business that Gil is in and the way Gil goes at life, it is possible that he has a small case of OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which could have passed down to his son either by his son imitating his father or just inheriting it. If that is not the case, then he passed down his anxiety and stress. While it is still unclear if such a disorder runs in the family, the NIMH states that, “…research indicates that OCD might run in families (NIMH, n. d. ). ” While not a clear sign of OCD, Kevin losing his retainer and then digging through garbage bins to find it might suggest it is true.

This however is shown as more anxiety and stress that come with every teenagers period of life as they strife to fit in and been seen as normal by their peers. On that note, the relationship between the parents and their two other children, Taylor and Justin, is very good and even their two children get along as well as can be expected of brother and sister. However, with the oldest son receiving so much attention because of his stress and anxiety that worry both of their parents, Gil most of all, the two youngest are in danger of not receiving the attention they normally do which may result in them acting out to get attention.

An article states that attention-seeking behavior in children, “…reflects a dysfunctional desire for more than one’s fair share of attention (Waters, 2011). ” An adult would see the problems Kevin has and leave their parents to helping them whereas a child only sees their older brother is getting more attention than them. Intergenerational Themes One theme that becomes more visual is Gils and his father’s relationship, which is at the very least, strained.

When the problems concerning his eldest come to light and the possible problems his two others children could have in the near future, as well as a fourth child on the way, it is almost too much for Gil to handle. He starts to become a workaholic who spends more time at work then with his family because he feels like a failure. He also has fears of becoming like his father who often pushed his son Gil on other men to watch while he was working, which is a possible reason why Gil is so involved in his children’s lives for most of the movie despite working so hard and his dislike for his father who often seemed as if he could not be bothered. Another theme is how opposite Gil’s married life is when compared to his fathers and mothers.

Gil married a woman who is completely unlike his mother. His mother is the type that has a submissive personality to her husband’s dominant one. She is very demure and has a quiet role in the family. His wife on the other hand is smart, outspoken and very much involved in the life of her husband and their children. There is also more communication between Gil and his wife then his husband has between him and his wife. Families often, but not always, repeat their behaviors and habits by passing them down one generation at a time (McGoldrick, Gerson, & Perty, 2008).

Family Strengths The family that Gil and his wife Karen are raised has much strength. One is their ability to communicate with each other which is rare in most family as the computer age takes hold young. A good example of this is when Gil begins to experience more stress at work then he can seemingly handle and thinks of quitting without knowing his wife is pregnant at the time. What couples usually do is fight when an issue like this happens but Gil and his wife come together and talk and come to a conclusion in a calm and respectful way.

This communication is also expressed with their oldest son as their seems to be no issues with his problem nor his seeing a counselor for them. Family Weakness The greatest one I saw that supersedes the apparently hereditary anxiety issues present not just in Gil and Kevin but possibly his other children as well is the parent’s overprotectiveness. It is common for parents to experience overprotectiveness for their first child but after the second of third, it usually calms down as they get used to dealing with children. This family however has both parents being very protective with their children.

Gil and his wife do admit to the counselor at school that thy were overprotective of their oldest son when he was young and most people can still see that is the case despite him being older. This also feeds into Gils desire to have his life and the life of those around him more orderly. Red Flags in Family The red flags I have seen are minor at the moment and unless they go untreated for too long, they will become issues passed down to the next generation. The first is the overprotectiveness that Gil and his wife show when dealing with their children.

At the moment, their relationship with them is very good but as time goes on and all their children start getting older, their children will want space and if the parents are unable to give it, they will seeing a distance between their children soon. Another red flag is the anxiety that seems to pass down from Gil to his children. Getting help for his children, should they show signs of anxiety disorders, early, will help them in the long run and while it might make no difference for any children they themselves have, it will at least help them help their future children control it sooner. Family Therapy Models

Because every family and every person in that family is different, it is hard to find a model that fits them best. This is even truer because a family never really fits any type of mold. Every family has its ins and outs and no two are alike, what’s more, the family is changing everyday as new things happen to members of the family or new people are brought into the family. When using a model for family therapy, one must look beyond the obvious and see into the family. For the two models I have chosen to use for this family and ones I am interested about are the Bowenian Family Systems and Solution Focused Brief Therapy.

Bowenian Family Systems This model has to do with emotional problems that the family experience and then pass to each other. This theory states that, “Family members so profoundly affect each other’s thoughts, feelings, and actions that it often seems as if people are living under the same “emotional skin. ” People solicit each other’s attention, approval, and support and react to each other’s needs, expectations, and distress (Bowen Center, 2013). ” This means that through trial and error and some conditioning, we experience and act around our family as they expect us to.

We all go through the stage of coping everyone we see and then a stage of picking the opposite of everything we see but we always act a certain way around family members. I think this would work well with the Gil family because they are so close. Being close is a good thing for any family but the overprotectiveness that Gil and his wife demonstrate and even admit to could hinder their children’s growth into their own persona and even drive them away should their try to leave the flock so to speak.

It can also allow the parents to see how their transmit their own feelings on a matter that could stunt their children in some way without them even meaning to. Solution Focused Brief Therapy This therapy, like the name suggests is a short term goal therapy that looks more toward solutions rather than the problems. When this therapy was created, it was founded under the assumptions that, “…the client is the expert; if it is not broken, do not fix it; if something works, continue with it; if something does not work, do something else (Bannink, 2007).

” That being said, it looks to the client to find a solution with the counselor but with the client heavily involved in the solution. It looks to empower the client by making known their strengths and showing them they have strengths they did not even see as such. It also tries to help the client look past what might be called bad genes and focusing on strong points the client has besides or in spite of his or her ‘failings’. I felt this was a very good choice for the Gil family because it fits Gil himself who likes to take the straight and narrow.

It can also be used to help alleviate some of the anxiety and stress the family is experiencing as a whole because it outlines clear solutions and goals for reaching them without making mention of the problem itself. Lastly, it allows the use of the Miracle Question which is something that can, “… lift clients out of the seeming constraints of “real life. ” (Stith, Miller, Boyle, Swinton, & Ratcliffe, 2012).

” This is usually asked before the therapy really starts and allows goals to be created around the ideal solution that their clients see themselves in life. It also lets the therapist know of the clients real thoughts on a better life then their current one. Conclusion In conclusion, the Gil family is your average family with its ups and downs. It has the usually problems and the usually way in which the family tries to balance itself out, as well as the usually problems that plague families of today such as economic stress and the arrival of a new child. The family has its strengths, such as their ability to communicate and their weaknesses, such as the parent’s overprotectiveness.

It also has its red flags such as the possible hereditary problems passed down from Gil. This paper also shows two good models for therapy to help even out some of those rough edges that every family has and ways to avoid possible problems with the help of the models. Lastly, by using a genogram, it would allow a family like this one to see its own patterns and issues that they did not even realize were issues and put a stop or get a handle on them before too long.

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