Marriage and Counseling

7 July 2016


The structural family therapist goes about helping the entire family instead of singling out the specific person with the issues. When families have good relationships with each other it is mainly when each family member has their specified role and fulfills that role to its entirety. This type of psychotherapy was created by a researcher name Salvador Minuchin, from New York. The primary strategy of this therapy is to develop a bond between the family members that are having problems within their family. The therapist’s goal in this theory is to develop a bond with every member of the family so he or she can figure what the problem is and how to solve it. The structural family theory also brings in a biblical perspective to psychology. This therapy will help shed a new light on how God planned families to be and what roles he wanted each of them to have.

Marriage and Counseling Essay Example


Every person in the world has a family. Some people may be closer to theirs than others but that does not negate the fact that they have a family. With that being said, each family has a different way of functioning. The majority of families raise children and they grow up to be fair adult citizens. Although the majority of families raise their children with no problems, there are still those that have their share of misconceptions. The structural theory specializes in individuality. It examines each person of the family with their own characteristics and aspirations, while being apart of their entire family. The basic concept to structural therapy looks at rules of a family, roles of each individual, wholeness and organization. ( Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2013). A therapist analyzing this data thinks that a person can either function or not function. Functional families make changes and shifts as the members of the unit develop and go through different developmental stages (Becerra., & Michale., 2012). A dysfunctional family is not open to change and seeks to keep the members of the unit stuck in the way things always have been and does not foster growth within the individuals members of the family. (Becerra., & Michale., 2012).


The relationship individuals have with their families is a source of mental stability for each individual. (Becerra., & Michale., 2012). This theory thinks that when families talk to each other through speaking and non-verbal communication it is passed down through the generations of their family. Aside from those dysfunctions, structural therapist’s looks at the way families form family triangles, coalition, and family belief systems ( Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2013). Structural theory believes that every member of the family have a different role to play as it related to the workings of their family. Healthy families are not families that have no conflict, rather healthy families are able to see the conflict and handle it in an appropriate manner (Harway., Kadin., Gottlieb., Nutt., & Celano,. 2012). Everyones family has their own element of growth and sometimes this causes problems within the family. While going through these growing pains it causes the family members to not be able to adapt to things without their dysfunctional family.

Development of The Theory

Research was conducted and clinical data was collected on different family systems to understand the patterns of psychosomatic families. Research was conducted at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center, where Salvador Minuchin was the director of the center (Goldenberg, & Goldenberg, 2013).A vast majority of these families came from normal homes with each of them having problems within their family. A psychosomatic family is when the child or children in the family develop severe psychosomatic problems as a result of their families dysfunction (Becerra., & Michale., 2012). While working with families that showed signs of a psychosomatic child, the goal was to change the structure of the relationship and develop boundaries, and to deal with underline conflict within the family system (Goldenberg, & Goldenberg, 2013). Salvador Minuchin and his regime of researchers worked diligently while studying this theory and this is now one of the most influential theories of conducting solutions to family conflicts.

Counseling Technique

The main priority of the therapist is to find the solution to the families and help them discover what the roles should be in each family. Structural family therapists address current problems within the family instead of past events (Harway., Kadin., Gottlieb., Nutt., & Celano., 2012). One of the main jobs of the therapist is to find new ways to hinder the present problems the family has and make sure that the problems do not reoccur. The families that do have a hard time solving their troubles need to have a major change in their roles as a family. There are many techniques that counselors employ while working to bring health to the family system. The main techniques are joining, boundary making, enactment, restructuring, and reframing (Hammond., & Nichols. 2008).

Boundary in this therapy basically states that there needs to be separation in the family but at the same time it needs to be known that each member of the family knows they have special meaning and are cared for by everyone else in the family. Counselors look to change the hierarchical relationship between the husband/father and the rest of the family (Goldenberg, & Goldenberg, 2013). When referring to enactment, this is stating that a counselor cannot take one person’s side of the family favorably over the others. Counselors that take the side of one member over the other members will interfere with the creation of healthy family functioning (Goldenberg, & Goldenberg, 2013). When the therapist sees that there are problems happening within the family he will exemplify positive patterns which can help the family outside of the counseling aspect. This is one factor that will help the families problems not be pissed on from generation to generation. When the therapist reframes with the family it means that they are coming up with new ways of viewing the problem. The old ways did not work or the therapist just wants to give them a new perspective of the problem, hoping that the new way would be successful.

Christian View

A Christian view refers to having a biblical foundation in your life and how they feel the presence of the Bible through their every day life and culture. Christians believe that every word in the bible is inspired by God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states that everything in the Bible is inspired by God, and profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instructions (Crabb., 1977).

A Christian views marriage and family as one of the greatest things ever created by God. All Christians know that we were all created in Gods image as a reflection of God’s glory. Everyones family is set up in a different and unique way. God created the family concept for the husband and father to be the leader of his wife and his children. God created Eve for Adam with the assumption that they would meet each others needs and have children together. Ephesians 5:25 says that Adams main objective should be to love his wife the was Christ loves the church. This is how all men should treat their wives and if not, it can lead to serious dysfunctional relationships and families. The wives number one priority should be to submit to her husband and to care for the children. The children should respect and mind their parents as long as the parents are still in a steady walk with Jesus Christ (Ephesians 6:1). Many families stray away from these simple concepts and it also leads to having a broken family. If families remain true to their Christian view of life and their culture within their family they can live happily and not be hindered by outside influences, also known as the Devil.

My personal family theory is the same as structural family therapy. When the therapist focuses on each individual of the family it creates a better way to deal with the problems that Christian and non-Christian families have. Structural family model looks at creating balance within the concepts of family dynamic. Structural therapist looks at defining family rules, roles, coalition, subsystems, boundaries, and wholeness (Goldenberg, & Goldenberg, 2013). Dr. Crabb stated He looked at the life of Paul and stated that as believes we should do everything to please God and not man (Crabb, 1977). When Christians are involved in counseling they should make sure that all of the counseling sessions not only help their family but also reflects God in every single aspect. Compare/Contrast

Structural Family Therapy has a lot of similarities as family directed therapy. Family-directed therapy is a younger model of structural therapy, but with different aspects to the theory that structural family therapy doesn’t look at (McLendon., McLendon., & Petr., 2005). Both of these types of therapies determine that the parents should care for the children, not the other way around. They also both show the families the positives in their system, the negatives, and what needs to be changed throughout their maturing process as a family. Family-directed therapy is more time limited and while working on goals that were set by members of the family (McLendon., McLendon., & Petr., 2005). In the structural therapy the family members do not set the goals for the members. The therapist sets them because he knows exactly where the weaknesses and the strong points of the family are.

Conclusion Structural Therapy is a counseling model created by Salvador Minuchin and his crew of researchers. Much of the early research for the theory was done at an inner city to understand the how families functioned when high levels of poverty and single-mother lead homes where older child were more like a second parents in the family (Harway., Kadin., Gottlieb., Nutt., & Celano., 2012). The purpose for this theory is to aid families with providing them counseling and making their family functional in all ways. These counselors find ways to establish roles within the family system and to establish boundaries between the family members. The goal of the therapist with a Christian view is to strengthen the marriage, parent/child relationship and to help each family understand their role in their family. Christian counselors rely on God to help guide them into bringing change within the family unit.

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