Family Counseling

High School ・Psychology ・MLA ・1 Sources

The essay by Szapocznik, Schwartz, Muir, and Brown gives an informative overview of the growth over the four decades of brief strategic family counseling. In addition, in light of the lessons learned, the writers aim to explain the continued progression of their research program. Notably, the BSFT is a type of short-term family therapy designed by young adults with behavioral issues such as substance usage, sexual risk activity, and juvenile behavior. The paradigm is based largely on the premise that the family is both the greatest and the most enduring factor in the growth of children and adolescents. The BSFT model targets families where the youth are involved in clusters of risk taking as well as questionable conduct such as drug and substance abuse, delinquency, affiliation with antisocial peers and unsafe sexual activity.

In most cases, the families of the troubled youth tend to behave in a manner that promotes the behavior. Three principles guide the BSFT model. The first principle is the family systems approach which emphasizes that members of a family are interdependent. The conduct, as well as behavior of a family member, may affect other members of the same family. The second guiding principle of BSFT emphasizes that the family’s habitual or repetitive patterns of interaction influences the conduct of each family member. Lastly, the BSFT model is to plan interventions that are problem-focused as well as targeted. Notably, when a particular family is unable to agree on the strategies to manage an adolescent’s conduct, it is unlikely that they will be unable to negotiate the coming therapies together. Family members may also perceive the adolescent as the only problem thus the only one who is supposed to be in the therapy. Therefore, it is evident that the similar interactional difficulties are related to the family’s inability to come to treatment.

At the same time, the authors also discuss the goals of BSFT which include the elimination adolescent risky behaviors such as drug use. Moreover, BSFT also aim to modify family interactions that are connected to risky adolescent behaviour. For example, through the therapy, a parent can learn that it is not necessary to direct anger to a teenager when they exhibit risky behavior as this worsens the situation. Furthermore, the authors also document the areas where BSFT has been found to be effective. These areas include drug use, connections with antisocial peers, as well as impaired family functioning (Szapocznik et al. 137). The model is suitable for both African and White Americans.  In two of the studies that the authors cite, the efficacy of the BSFT model has been proved. It is important to note that the treatment duration for BSFT is four months, but in some instances it can take longer.

In the three variables examined in the article, family functioning, parental functioning and drug use, BSFT was found to be effective. In terms future directions Szapocznik et al suggest that given BSFT has been proved to be effective, it would be important that ways of implementing the model in community practice are established (142). In general, the article demonstrates that implementing the model in community setting will provide therapists with an effective way to enhance family involvement during therapy along with increasing the rates of retention of affected teenagers.


Works Cited

Szapocznik, José, et al. "Brief strategic family therapy: An intervention to reduce adolescent risk behavior." Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice 1.2 (2012): 134-145.

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