Family Perspective Counseling


Psychologists employ varied methods in addressing the problems thatclients manifest. The current trends in counseling are tailored tosuit the specific needs of mental health patients. The outcomes of asession and observable behavior change determine the effectiveness ofa model. The heterogeneous nature of sick individuals and the variedcounseling support services guide therapists on the most practicalapproach to use. Some of the standard psychological models employedby the experts include the cognitive approach, family perspective,psychoanalytic, client-centered, transactional, existential, andgestalt therapy among others. Therapists can apply more than onemethod in a particular mental complication.

Family counseling model focuses on the problems and concerns apatient exhibits in an environment that includes other players whoare significant in their lives (Keane et al., 2013). A family,therefore, is defined as a unit comprising of different players witha unifying factor. The unbecoming behavior of one person in thecircle can affect the others negatively. A psychological conditionthat is afflicting one of the family constituents cannot be solvedefficiently without invoking the support of the other members (Keaneet al., 2013).

The approach focuses on sustainability of behavior change throughsupportive efforts of more than one party. The rehabilitation orreconciliation sought in a therapy extends beyond the relationshipbetween a patient and a practitioner. The ineffectiveness ofindividual counseling sessions that was common in the 1930s triggeredresearchers to develop the family perspective (Keane et al., 2013).Professionals noticed that patients’ conditions were notsustainable after the treatment session ended. A significant numberof them flopped due to a weak propping environment outside the mentalhealthcare setting. The model has since evolved and modified to suitthe changing psychological needs (Keane et al., 2013).

The approach is one of the most lucid alternatives for addressing abroad range of mental health problems for various reasons. First, theproblematic behaviors that patients manifest cannot be isolated fromthe conditions they emanate. Therapists use the perspective toconduct a comprehensive study of the causes of a given problem in afamily setting. In doing so, they unearth the primary causes thatexacerbate the condition that demands psychological help. Accordingto the proponents of the perspective, addressing the superficialsymptoms of a mental or behavioral condition does not guarantee asustained change (Carr et al., 2015). For example, relationshipissues involving spouses or children may result in stress andconsequent depression. The victims may not have control over some ofthe stressors in the family contexts.

More importantly, those who contribute to the problem may not beaware of the effects of their actions on other members of the unit.Involving all the stakeholders is an important method of invokingtheir participation towards the recovery of the client, as well as,preventing a future psychological hitch.

Also, the family therapy identifies the impact of changes ininter-personal relationships. Most of the times, clients believe thatthey have minimal influence on broken associations. Turning up fortreatment is proof that their only hope lies with the professionals.However, the counseling setting and the empathy extended to a patientmay not reach the family environment. The long lasting remedy lies incountering the source of the stressor in a professional andapprobated process (Carr et al., 2015). Although the approach islimited to the willingness of the clients, and other involvedparties, it strives to quell any reprehensive relationships to thebest interest of the patient and the other stakeholders. It may alsoseek to reconstruct affinity in a family setting, such as a unitwhere a child engages in drug abuse, and consequent addiction,because of lacking his or her parents’ attention. Practitioners mayencourage the parents to reconsider the quality time they spend withtheir children. When the environment in the setting is fulfilling,the counseling sessions achieve the intended objectives.

Besides working down to the primary cause of a psychologicalcondition, the family counseling model considers the resourcesavailable to support the expected behavioral outcome. According toCarr et al. (2015), most of the counseling approaches concentrate onthe capacity of the patients to alter the conditions in theirsurrounding or to change their perspectives towards them.Nonetheless, there are some elements in the surrounding that theclient may not have a direct impact. They include the willingness ofthe other involved parties to take part in the treatment process, theavailable resources, and the attitude of the family members towardsthe desired change, among others (Carr et al., 2015).

Therapists in this school of thought modify the treatment method tofit a family’s resource capacity. The approach, therefore, differswith other models, including, the cognitive and client-centeredcounseling methods that concentrate on the clients’ ability tochange by either influencing or adjusting to the source of stressors.Although the input of a client is vital in the treatment, it islimited to the factors that he/she can control. For example, in thecognitive model, therapists exploit the mental capacity of theclients. Nonetheless, regardless of how sharp or flexible they maybe, they cannot influence all the factors in their environment usingtheir mental prowess. In the client-centered approach, psychologistsadminister guided questions that trigger the patients’ thoughts andabilities. However, it is worth noting that their opinions arelimited to factors that they can modify.

The approach used by the family therapy perspective sharply contraststhe ideology of the conventional medical model. For decades,physicians have embraced the medical models as the most useful foraddressing mental and physical complications. Its proponents arguethat the body works like an autonomous machine (Cooper et al., 2013).If there were any fault in the device, it would be futile to look forit outside the components of the body. Therefore, they embrace thecause and treatment model. The implications of the environment andthe family do not feature in the treatment alternative. When making adiagnosis, physicians limit their examination to the functions ofbody organs and systems. The recommended remedy does not extendbeyond the mechanistic approach.

The medical model fails to address the adverse effects caused by theenvironment on one’s mental health. According to the family theory,the attitude, behavior, and attributes of the people who are part ofa unit that a patient belongs, are critical during treatment (Carr etal., 2015). A majority of the people who seek mental healthassistance manifest symptoms that are beyond the control of theso-called “autonomous machine.” They are results of a continuousinteraction of the factors in their environment. While the medicalmodel disregards them, the family counseling approach considers themas the key to a sustainable mental and behavioral stability.

Another difference between the treatment approaches is theirflexibility. The family model develops a treatment plan for anindividual patient after considering his/her environment. It assistsin modifying the corrective measure to suit the available needs andthe influence of other factors that are inherent in a family. On theother hand, the medical perspective is rigid since it exploits theinformation gathered from research concerning the functioning of ahuman body (Cooper et al., 2013). Since it likens the body to amachine, the treatment options tend to be comparable for individualswith similar psychological conditions. In addition, after treatment,proponents of the medical perspective school of thought agree thatthey do not have a follow-up plan to determine the efficacy of theiractions. On the contrary, the family model modifies the clients’environment to establish a supportive setting that suits the desiredobjectives, even after the end of the counseling session.

The family therapy model is also the favorite in settlingrelationship disputes and intensifying the capacity of theindividuals to adjust to different environments. Psychologists citeits ability to be exploited, alongside other perspectives, as afactor that makes it applicable in different circumstances (Carr etal., 2015). Proponents of the model agree that it is not absolute.Therefore, it cannot be an efficient method for all the psychologicalproblems. Nonetheless, it can be indispensable when applied togetherwith other problem-specific therapies. For example, a third-gradestudent with sleep disturbances, and living in a family that worsensthe problem, can be duly treated using the family approach andanother behavioral therapy method. The rationale for this is that theunit`s factors exacerbate the problem. A therapist cannot assist achild fully without invoking the contribution of the parents andother family members. Although a behavioral model can gradually helpthe patient to adjust to the home environment, and change thesleeping habits, the recovery can be faster and more comprehensive ifthe family perspective is used alongside the behavioral approach.

In conclusion, the people in a patient’s environment determine thepsychological problems the individual manifests. Most of the time,the patients lack adequate capacity to influence the source of theirstressors. Incorporating the family in a therapy program helps inforging surroundings for sustainable behavior change. The modelmodifies the treatment to suit the resources available in a family.It is, therefore, friendly and it protects the family from furtherstrain. The approach differs with other counseling methods such asthe cognitive and self-centered therapies that concentrate on thecapacity of clients. The family perspective, therefore, remainsamong the most effective counseling techniques.


Carr, A., Fry, J., Casey, T., Forrest, M., Beirne,F., &amp Cassells, C. (2013). Positive systemic practice: Thecrosscare teen counselling model of intervention for adolescents andtheir parents (A Practice Manual). Dublin:Crosscare Teen Counselling.

Cooper, M., O`Hara, M., Schmid, P. F., &ampBohart, A. (Eds.). (2013). The handbookof person-centred psychotherapy and counselling.Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Keane, M., Guest, A., &amp Padbury, J. (2013). Abalancing act: A family perspective to sibling sexual abuse. Childabuse review, 22(4),246-254.