The Family's construction of reality and systemic family therapy
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AbstractThe primary purpose of this study was to provide research validation for the transformation of the family's construction of reality following a treatment program in Systemic Family Therapy (SFT). Twelve families with one or two adolescent members, who participated in a SFT treatment program at the University o f Calgary Family Therapy Program (FTP), were assessed before and after videotaped therapy. The assessment battery was designed to quantify and qualify normative values of family information-processing orientations. Each family was classified on Reiss's (1981) Card Sort Procedure (CSP) according to shared problemsolving beliefs or family paradigm (CSP dimensions of configuration, coordination, and closure). Three other normative orientations were also assessed--social construction, integrative complexity and optimism/ pessimism--and results were offered in two formats: (a) data from three families each representing one of Reiss's family paradigms, were presented through a single-subject design, and (b) the data were summarized across-all-families. Post-SFT, contextually significant modification was observed on problem-solving and social construction orientations, in most families, although only a few findings were deemed statistically significant. From the research findings it was possible to conclude that families do alter their construction of reality following SFT. Thus, all 12 research families showed important CSP variable shifts toward environment-sensitivity (i.e., more effective problem-solving, increased individuation, and improved family relationships). Three families were reclassified, post-therapy, to environment-sensitive. Family performance in relation to social construction, suggested family member construal dimensions similar to those for CSP problemsolving. While no significant transformation was found across-all-families in optimism/pessimism or integrative complexity, individual families did show important change on these variables. All of the variables used to assess the family's construction of reality were shown by correlation and Chi square analyses to be logical and coherent in relation to one another, to prediction by theory, and to the present study design. It was also concluded that SFT was instrumental in the transformation toward environmentsensitivity, and that this change could be validated as adaptive. Overall, the findings suggest: (a) SFT is a valuable family intervention technology; (b) SFT hypothesizing take into account family paradigm; (c) the nature of the patterning of family member construal; and (d) further research to assess family interactional orientations.
Bibliography: p. 280-293.
CitationLiske, C. L. (1988). The Family's construction of reality and systemic family therapy (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/12889
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