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Flashcards in MFT Theories Deck (49)
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Key concepts: Anxiety, differentiation* emotional cutoff, emotional process, fusion and cutoffs, triangulation..
Problem: Lack of differentiation leads to dysfunction in the family (can't separate thoughts and feelings)
Therapist: is neutral, objective, coach, and I position
Methods: process over content, genogram, detriangulation, therapeutic triangles, long term therapy

Bowen Theory


The ability to distinguish between thinking and feelings within self and others
*primary skill in developing ones self and solving problems

Differentiation **


Founder: Ivan Boszormengyi-Nagi
Concepts: destructive entitlement, ledger and transactions, parentification, fairness, loyalty, multidirectional impartiality

Problem: relationships break down when fairness, care, and accountability are absent-eroding and breaking trust between members.

Change: balancing the ledger, deparentification, restoring, trustworthiness, take responsibility
Therapist: active guide, often co-therapy, relational balance

Contextual Theory


Founder: Jill & David Scharff, James Framo
Concepts: based on attachment expectations formed in unresolved family of origin issues; insight based; transference to others and therapist; Freuds process/perspective

Problem: Negative experiences are projected onto others in an attempt to resolve the negative experience.
Change: Individuation, resolution of negative aspects being projected, detachment from "bad" object

Therapist: Non -directive, observing, insight

Object Relations


Founders: Weakland, Don Jackson, Watzlawick
Concepts: communication theory; 1st & 2nd order change; feedback loops; focus on the presenting complaint; repetitive patterns of family interactions

Problem: attempts at solutions become the problem; circular causality; "more of the same" maintains problem
Change: goals are small and clear; altering patterns of behaviors; change in one part, leads to change in others

Therapist: active, process over content, therapist responsible for outcomes, consulting team w/ 1 way mirror*

MRI brief


Founder: Jay Hayley & Cloe Madanes
Concepts: the structure is the problem; flexibility; strategic humanism;

Problem: dysfunctional heirarchy produces maintained failed solutions; failed life cycle transitions; triangulations and coalitions
Change: increase flexibility; new strategies for developmental change, establish proper heirarchy, eliminate triangulation and coalition.
Therapist: active and joins with the family; use language of the family; observe sequence and structure-reframing, enactments..



Founder: Mara Palazzoli and others..
Concepts: new epistemology, allows new ways of interacting; positive connotation*; invariant prescription; homeostasis; change beliefs rather than behaviors

Problem: family caught in power game; problems maintained by interactional sequences; homeostasis resists attempts to change; old way of living, doesnt fit the new way
Change: develop new epistemology by delivering new information to the system
Therapist: observing teams; mixed gender dyads; neutrality; hypothesizing; circular questioning

Milan Systemic


Founder: Minuchin
Concepts: family structure; subsystems; boundaries; coalitions, alliances, and triangles; enmeshment*; parentification; structural maps;

Problem: inflexible family structures fail to adapt to developmental challenges; rigid or diffuse boundaries; enmeshed or disengaged relationships
Change: reorganize the family structure; correct hierarchies; clear and flexible boundaries b/w subsystems; get families unstuck from old patterns

Therapist: active; directive; leadership; accomodation; observant of patterns; determine the structure; boundary making; challenging;



Found: Whittaker and Satir
Concepts: battle for structure and initiative; craziness; intimacy and separateness; family reconstruction; growth through shared experience; human validation model

Problem: poor distress tolerance; intolerance for differences; rigidity; feeling avoidance; scapegoat provides relief from anxiety; triangles/teaming roles
Change: more genuine interactions; interactional insight through shared experiences; increased ability to experience emotion

Therapist: involved and active; self disclosing, responsive, warm and positive; consultant; directive.
Methods: sculpting, parts party, in session interaction



Founder: Sue Johnson & Greenberg
Concepts: attachment theory; negative interaction cycle; core conflicts; primary and secondary emotions; dependence/ independence.

Problem: perceived danger and relational insecurity leads to reactive behaviors in a recursive pattern of negative interactions
Change: access primary emotions; change interactional patterns through new experiences; create secure attachments

Therapist: unconditional positive regard

Emotion Focused


Founders: Shazer and Insoo Berg
Concepts: focus on solutions and not problem; co-construction; exceptions; finding when the problem isnt a problem; focus on the future; language creates reality; scaling

Problem: repetitive focus on the problem puts limits on potential solutions; "if there are no symptoms, there aren't any problems.."
Change: focus on solution behaviors; learn from exceptions

Therapist: directive; lead solution; co-construct new solutions-formulate exceptions; focus on what already works-miracle question

Solution focused


Founder: Michael White
Concepts: problem-saturated stories; emphasis on meaning; re-authoring; externalize the problem; reality is constantly constructed

Problem: dominant stories of the problem subjugate alternate narratives; internalization of the problem; meanings trapped in time.
Change: develop new meanings; finding alternative solutions and narratives; formulating a new story

Therapist: neither direct nor indirect; clients have voice in tx process; establish collaborative atmosphere



Founder: Harlene Anderson and Goolishian
Concepts: language creates meaning; problem determined system; problem dissolving; reality/knowledge is socially constructed

Problem: problems are maintained by stories told to oneself; the constructed meaning of the problem prevents new meanings which can dissolve the problem
Change: generate new meanings through new language; new action to resolve.

Therapist: not knowing position; non-expert; honor clients reality; responsive; compassionate; co-exploration
conversational questions; expanding the meaning.



Term by Norbert Weiner
"is to describe systems that are self regulating by means of feedback loops-can be either negative or positive



theory that states : parts of a system are interrelated and that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts-- i.e. an individuals behavior is connected to other members behavior and reflects the family system rules

General Systems theory


Who was considered a "hypnotherapist"

Milton Erikson


term that describes: people in continuing relationships develop rule determined, repetitive patterns of interactions.."

behavioral redundancy


term that states: a systemic pretense of harmony and closeness that masks conflict and blocks intimacy- have an unnatural fear of separation



term that states: a noisy and intense way of masking and distorting both affection and splits



this was used in the Milan systemic approach- these engaged the family in behaviors that violated the family rules..



used to foster change through paradox by complimenting family members for devising the symptom to maintain homeostasis as well as enjoining the family from changing

postive conotation


terms that states: is a self correcting mechanism by which families attempt to adjust deviations from established patterns and maintain their organizational integrity

Feedback loops


term that states: 2 or more systems or subsystems exhibit similar or parallel structures
therapist experiences a family that rejects for change; therapist then suggestions from a particular subsystem to alter tx approach



term that states: a systems tendency towards growth, creativity, change, and innovation
similar to amplifying feedback loops



term that states: how something is said; dynamic aspects that are changing within the system



The primary domain of human systems theory is what?



This states that a genuine systemic analysis must include an understanding of system components- which are the two aspects of an individuals participation in a system; focus is on what passes among individuals and what goes on within the individuals

Decomposition law


term that states: are models by which incoming information is perceived, understood, transformed, and stored together with a corresponding repertoire of behavioral response options
-shape action and communication
-can be expandable and flexible or rigid and limiting

Cognitive maps


term that means: nonverbal communications that includes body language, stance, and preferred physical distance



communication that includes: sounds such as whistles, claps, and slaps on the back

streptic communication