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© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

1


CHAPTER 6

SYSTEMS: WHAT
ARE THEY, AND HOW
DO WE WORK WITH
THEM?

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

2

General Systems Theory


Explains the Complex Interactions of All Types of
Systems, Including:


Living Systems


Family Systems


Community Systems


Each System Has a Boundary


Each System Has a Homeostasis


In Families and in Groups, Members Take on Typical
Ways of Behaving

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

3

General Systems Theory


Boundaries and Information Flow in Systems


All Systems Have Boundaries


Rigid Boundaries and


Boundaries Too Permeable or Loose Signify
Dysfunction


Healthy Systems Have Semi
-
permeable
Boundaries


See Box 6.1, p. 162

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

4

Family Systems


The Development of the Healthy Family


Have Semipermeable Boundaries


Evaluates Information and Makes Changes as
Needed


Has Parents or Guardians Who Are the Main Rule
Makers


Have a Clear Sense of Hierarchy

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

5

Family Systems (Cont’d)


Two Well
-
Known Family Therapists:


Virginia Satir: If One Member of Family Feels
Pain, the Whole Family Is Affected


Salvadore Minuchin: Families Go Through:


Situational Crises (Box 6.2, p. 164)


Developmental Cycles


Healthy Families Can Deal with the Pain and the
Crises Families Go Through

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

6

Family Systems (Cont’d)


Dysfunctional Families


Boundaries Are Too Loose or Too Rigid


Poor Communication Patterns


Unclear Hierarchy


Often You Find Individuals
Scapegoated



Often You Find an
Identified Patient


Box 6.3, p. 165

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

7

Family Guidance and Counseling: Role
of the Human Service Professional


Training in Family Counseling Is Rigorous


Human Service Professionals do Family
Guidance and Refer for Family Counseling

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

8

Many Different “Schools”

of Family Counseling


Strategic Family Therapy (Haley)


Communication Perspective (Satir)


Structural Family Therapy (Minuchin)


Multigenerational Family Therapy (Bowen)


Experiential Family Therapy (Whitaker)


Psychodynamic Family Therapy Skynner)


Cognitive/Behavioral Family Therapy (Foster &
Gurman)


Narrative Family Therapy (White & Epston)

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

9

Regardless of Approach,

All Adhere to Similar Guidelines

1.
Family systems have properties more than the sum of their parts.

2.
The operation of such systems is governed rules.

3.
Every system has a boundary

4.
Boundaries are semi
-
permeable; some things can pass through.

5.
Family systems tend to reach a relatively steady state.

6.
There are communication and feedback mechanisms between parts of
the system [cybernetics: positive and negative feedback loops].

7.
Events or behavior of individuals are understood as examples of
circular
causality,
rather than linear causality.

8.
Family systems, like other open systems, appear to be purposeful.

9.
Systems are made up of
subsystems
and are parts of
suprasystems.

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

10

Individual Counseling

Versus Family Counseling


Must Assess the Situation


Some People Believe All Counseling Should
Be Family Counseling


Sometimes, One Member Might Be In
Individual Counseling While Also Being In
Family Counseling

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

11

GROUP SYSTEMS


Can Be Understood by Examining the
Dynamic Interaction of its Members,
Including:


Communication Pattern


Power Dynamics


Hierarchies


Homeostasis

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

12

Groups: A Brief History


Prior to 1900: to Assist Individuals in Functional
and Pragmatic Ways


Turn of the Century, Schools Offered Group
Vocational and Moral Guidance


1920s and 1930s: Groups Began to Have a More
Introspective Nature


1940s the Modern Group Movement Emerges


Carl Rogers: Encounter Group Movement


Kurt Lewin:
National Training Laboratory

(NTL)

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

13

Defining Self
-
help, Psychoeducational

Groups, and Counseling and Therapy Groups


All Groups Have Rules Regarding


Membership Behavio


Leadership Style


Technical Issues


Ground Rules

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

14

Self
-
help Groups and

Personal Growth Groups


Purpose: Educate, Affirm, & Enhance
Existing Strengths of the Group Member


Unpaid Volunteer Leader or No Leader at
All


Free or Have a Nominal Fee


Not In
-
depth Counseling Groups


Box 6.4, p. 168

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

15

Psychoeducational Groups


Geared Toward Education to Prevent
Future Problems


Have a Designated, Well
-
trained Group
Leader


Sometimes Free of Charge; However,
Some Involve a Fee


Box 6.5, p. 169

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

16

Counseling and Therapy Groups


Many Differentiate by Depth of Disclosure & If
Personality Reconstruction is Expected


Both Have a Designated Highly Trained Leader


Both Have Between 4 and 12 Group Members


Usually Meet for a Minimum of Eight Sessions


Meet at Least Once a Week for 1
-
3 Hours


Confidentiality of the Group Is a must


Work on Behavioral Change


Box 6.6, p. 170

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

17

Group Membership Behavior


Certain Characteristics or Roles Taken on
by Members


Examples: Dominators, Mediators,
Manipulators, Caretakers, Nurturers, or
Facilitators, Withdrawn, Hostile, or
Opinionated


As the Group Process Continues, the
Roles That Members Take on May Vary

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

18

Group Leadership Styles


All Leaders Need to Be Aware of Basic Group Theory
and Process to Facilitate


Group Leader Has:


Knowledge of Systems


Familiarity with Membership Roles


Awareness of Group Stages of Development


Adeptness at Basic and Advanced Counseling Techniques


Awareness of the Composition of Their Group


Strong Without Being Authoritarian


Knowledgeable about Rules, Yet Flexible in How They Are
Implemented

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

19

Stages of Group Development


Pregroup Stage:
Prescreen, Identifying Expectations,
Challenge Myths, Offer Basic Understanding of Group


The Initial Stage:

Anxiety and Apprehension, “Self Vs.
Other” Focus, Issues of Trust


The Transition Stage:

at First Hostility, Maybe
Scapegoating

later Acceptance of Self and Personal
Issues


The Work Stage:

Setting of Goals and Working on
Behavioral Change


The Closure Stage:
Summarizing Accomplishments,
Saying Good
-
byes, Thinking about Future, and Follow
-
up

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

20

Individual Vs. Group Counseling


Research: Group as Effective as Individual Counseling


Refer to Group Counseling When:


It’s a Valid Alternative if Client Cannot Afford Individual


Benefits of Individual Counseling Have Gotten So Meager


Client's Issues Are Related to Interpersonal Functioning


A Client Needs Extra Social Support


Client Will Benefit By Testing out New Behaviors in Safe Place


When Group Members’ Experiences Can Help Client (e.g.,
Similar Issues)

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

21

Community Systems

And Social Change


To Affect Change in Clients, HSPs Need
to:


Work in Agencies that are Healthy (Have a
Healthy System)


Understand the Intricacies of the Community

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

22

Working in a Healthy Agency


HSPs Must Have a Clear Understanding of
the


Boundaries


Overt and Covert Rules


Hierarchies: Whose In Charge?


Information Flow


© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

23

Working With The

Community To Effect Client Change


Six Steps:


Accurately Define Your Problem


Collaborate With Community Members


Respect Community Members


Collaboratively Develop Change Strategies


Implement Change Strategies


Assess Effectiveness

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

24

Ethical, Professional, and Legal Issues


In Groups and Families


Responsibility to Protect the Confidentiality of the
Client


Also Have a Responsibility to the Broader System


Be Aware of Agency Regulations and Laws (e.g.,
Confidentiality)


Make Wise Decisions in Respect to Confidentiality


Groups or Families: Stress Confidentiality, But Cannot
Be Guaranteed

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

25

Ethical, Professional, and Legal Issues


In Social Service Systems, Client
Confidentiality Also Must Be Maintained


Signed Release
-
of
-
information Form Should
Be Obtained from Clients


Don’t Talk about Clients with Others


Records Should Be Secured

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

26

Ethical, Professional, and Legal Issues


Rules of Group Behavior (Some Issues to Consider)

1.
What Are the Limits of Confidentiality?

2.
Can Members Socialize Outside the Group?

3.
Can Members Date Outside the Group?

4.
What Attendance Expectations Do You Have?

5.
What Expectations Concerning Self
-
disclosure of Members?

6.
What Are Repercussions & Limits of Physical Acting?

7.
Are there Expectations Concerning what Will Be Discussed?

8.
Expectations for Being Punctual & Staying Whole Group?

9.
Expectations for How Members Communicate During Group?

10.
Your Responsibility If Member Might Harm to Self or Others?

11.
Other Agency Rules Determine Specific Group Conduct?

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

27

Ethical, Professional, and Legal Issues


Training and Competence


When Working with Families, Groups, or Community
Members One Need to Know Limits of Competence


Human Service Professionals Can Lead
Psychoeducational & Self
-
help Groups, but NOT
Counseling & Therapy Groups


Many Human Service Professionals are not Trained to
do Family Counseling and Family Therapy but May
Offer Family Guidance


Additional Training: Gained Through Workshops or
Other Continuing Education

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

28

The Developmentally Mature

Human Service Professional


Using a Systems Approach in
Understanding the Complexity of
Interrelationships


Do Not View Clients in Isolation


Understand the Complexity of the Interactions
in the Clients' World


Understand That Families, Groups, and Social
Systems Have a Large Impact on the Client

© 2008 Thomson Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning

29

Experiential Exercises

and Ethical and Professional Vignettes




See Pages 182
-

187