Strengths-based family therapy session 2 part 1

Strengths-based family therapy session 2 part 1

Narrator: A
Strengths-Based Approach To Family Therapy The Ohio State University
College of Social Work Therapist: It’s good to
see you again. Tell me how things
have been for the past week?
As I recall I asked you to, take notice of when
moments of the miracle picture happened for you
in your life, and you were able to stand-up to
hopelessness. I did notice some
things, being better. What kinds of things? Well, nothing changed,
for the first few mornings, but on the 4th
morning after our visit here, Joe did get up, and
out of bed, only after one time of me telling him
to, instead a 100. Wow, that is a change! That’s good to hear. What else was different
this week? Oh yeah!
On the 3rd morning, Bill got up, 30 minutes,
before I had to leave for work. And has been up,
every morning since then, at least 30 minutes, if not
an hour, before I have to leave for work. That’s great! So let
me ask you, Jane. What effect did that
have for you? Well, when I noticed, Bill was up, and in
the kitchen, pouring a cup of coffee and then sitting
down to read the paper, I decided to join him for
coffee and some small talk. We haven’t done that
in a while and I really enjoyed that. Me too; I miss that. So what else was different? Well, Bill and I were
enjoying ourselves in the kitchen, and before
I knew it, it was time to go to work. I didn’t have
time to spend trying to get Joe out of bed so, I
just left for work. And Before I left, Bill
gave me a kiss goodbye and that was really nice. So that was different? What? Hanging out
with Bill? The kiss goodbye?
or not having the time to get Joe
out of bed? Any of those you listed. Well, there have
been a number, of mornings when I’ve ran out of time
to get Joe out of bed, so I’d have to say hanging
out with Bill, and the kiss goodbye. You know those
things used to happen routinely, but we’ve
gotten away from them. How about you, Bill, what’s different from
your perspective? Well,I did
notice on the fourth morning, Joe getting up the
first time Jane called him to get ready to
go to school. OK. And Jane mentioned that you got up
30 minutes, early, on the 3rd morning after our
meeting, and that you’ve been getting up that
early ever since. Yep. That did happen. So I’m wondering
how did you get yourself to do that…to start
getting up a little earlier than you have
been in the past? Narrator: Here, the therapist
is elaborating on the exception, to emphasize the
client’s sense of personal agency, or in other words,
taking active steps in the re-authoring
of a new story. Bill: Well, I’m not really
sure. I just woke up and, couldn’t go back to sleep.
Usually I was able to sleep through the alarm
that got Jane up, sleep through her getting ready
for work. And I guess I could have continued to do
that, and just, lay there in bed while she got ready
but, for some reason I just decided to get up. Is there anything else
that’s different? Well now that you’ve
mentioned it, I have started going to bed
earlier than usual. Usually I would stay up,
long after Jane went to bed to watch TV, but this
past week, I’ve been going to bed soon after Jane
did. Maybe that explains why I woke up and couldn’t
go back to sleep. Well, that does sound
like a new development. Has it been a while since
you, liked getting up early and seeing what’s
going on with the family, as they begin their day? It’s been a while. Jane: A really,
long while. So, it’s been a
long while since you, started getting up
early…but it’s not something that’s
new to you? Oh no, I used to always be the first one up
– just lately… Well, I’m wondering if waking up earlier
this week reminded you of how it used to
be before, hopelessness disrupted your family. Sure…it made me
feel good. It made me feel like I used
to feel in the morning. And how was that? You know..ready to get up…start my day. Not
feeling so sluggish like I had the energy to get
things done. You know, being in construction, you
have to get to work early, usually, right when the
sun’s coming up; that’s especially true in the
summer time. Because you have to, get up before the
summer heat. I used to be the first, one of the
first, if not THE FIRST one on the job. So it used to be that
you would wake up early when the alarm
went off and you would, always find the energy to
get yourself going. How did this become true for
you? – you consistently, being to work earlier
than your co-workers? Narrator: The therapist goes
after details about the preferred story. He is
drawing attention to the ways of being, that are
preferred by asking “Action Questions” that
get at describing the behaviors and steps, that
the father took in order for the other story to be
realized. The therapist is emphasizing the
self-agency involved on the father’s part, that
cultivates a plot wherein the preferred story
is the dominant theme. Bill: Well, I guess when
I was in the Army, I was always an
early riser, so it just
became a habit. And I started construction right
after I got out of the Army so I didn’t have time
to develope any of these, lazy habits. And, I just,
think it’s important to get to the job on time.
Especially since I’m one of the, older, construction
workers. I feel a responsibility, that I need
to be at the job early to make sure the work is
getting done so the younger workers that
straggle in late, because they’d been out the night
before partying. So, I’m wondering how in the past were
you were able to, get up and be ready for the
busy day of construction, during those times in your
life when maybe you were experiencing, a personal
challenge; or something was making you worried? It
seems like this might be important
information to know. Narrator: The Therapist continues to
deconstruct the Problem Story, by breaking out the
details of how Father was able to stay focused.
This line of questions is referred to, as the
“Landscape of Action Questions.” These details
of counter action, thicken the alternative storyline,
or the exception story. Bill: Well…I guess I’ve always
been able to seperate the work from the
personal stuff. Yes, it sounds like you were able to do that,
but I think it might be more than that. It sounds
like somehow you were able to muster up the strength
to, keep going even when you were facing a personal
challenge or, there was something in your life
that was a struggle or making you tired. I, I’m
curious, how you were able to do that? I guess you could just
say I’m just a really stubborn person. What do you mean stubborn? Well, you know, able to
get up and get things done, even when
there’s a problem. How is that? How were you able to, stay
motivated or focused even when you were faceing a
personal challenge, or something was making
you tired? Well I guess I always felt that,
what I was doing was important…what I
was doing I made a contribution, and that, I
just had to keep going no matter what. So, Jane what do you
think that says about Bill, as a person,
that he has this remarkable history of,
being determined to, keep going no matter what? Narrator: The therapist begins to
strengthen the Exception story, by interjecting what
Narrative Therapy, refers to as, the “Landscape
of Meaning Questions”. Meaning questions aim to
get at the significance of Father’s actions brought
forth in the alternative story, and what this says
about being the kind of person, who would conduct
his life accordingly. Jane: It says that
he’s strong, and that he’s a
positive person. Yep. Joe, what
about you? Your mother and father noticed you were
getting up on your own and getting ready for
something; is that how it felt for you? Well Yeah, I just..I
just started getting up and, and getting ready. You mean you actually
got up on your own and were getting washed
and ready for the day? Yeah, I did. Well, this sounds like
a different story than I have been hearing. What did you do
to get this new development to happen? I don’t know. I just…
I just… I just started
doing it. The last time we were here we all talked
about, what the miracle would look like, and you
described yourselves in this miracle scenario and,
how you had freed yourself from hopelessness. Now I
am hearing that pieces of this miracle are actually
happening for you and, that somehow you are standing
up to hopelessnes. Joe, what do you think it would
take to continue, standing up to hopelessness
in your life? I guess I would be uh determined to not let
it control me. What would it take to be that strong
to not let hopelessness take control of you, and of
what you’re feeling and what you do? What do you mean? Well, it sounds like hopelessness has had a
very powerful influence in your life. In fact, it
sounds like hopelesness has taken over your life.
Now though it has only been for a few days, you
have probably needed to be very strong to start
standing up to it like you have. Yeah…I guess you could
say something like that. I mean, I haven’t, I
haven’t thought about it like that, but in some ways
it’s been, it’s been, really hard to get myself
going in the morning and in other ways
it’s been… it’s been
really easy….I don’t know quite how
to explain it. So now it might be helpful to think of some,
images of strength, that you could draw upon to
help you, when your facing hoplessness. What do you
think it would take to be strong, what sort of
images comes to mind for you? Narrator: Throughout this portion
of the interview, the therapist is engaging
in what is called “scaffolding,” in order
to construct a frame, to support the shift
from problem story, to possibilities story.
The therapist further strengthens the preferred
story, by drawing on images of strength in standing
up to difficult life situations, or dominant
problem stories. Joe: To be a warrior! Therapist: A warrior? Joe: It’s this book
series I read. Therapist: OK.
Now, I’m intrigued. What’s this warrior like? Um, He’s really
tall and strong; and he protects the people of
his planet; And he always finds a way to
make things better. And how does he do that? Well um, He takes charge
and, and he, and he fine.. and he, and he always
believes that there’s… there’s a way to
make things better. How does he do this?
He sounds like someone who, doesn’t
give up. And how does he manage not to give up even
when things don’t look like they’re going
to work out? Well, it’s just a story
… you know (laughter). But um, but I would say
that it’s because, he believes there’s, there’s not a problem
he can’t solve. Therapist: So, this person
takes charge and, shows belief to others.
Mom and Dad, do you see a relation between this
warrior and Joe? Narrator: Again, the therapist draws
on Action Questions, and Meaning Questions, to get
at the positive qualities, and affirming personal
identities, of the family members, as they liberate
themselves, from the dominance of hopelessness. Jane: Yeah, I do. Joe’s always really cared
about causes and people. How do you know
this about Joe? Well, he shows it in
his volunteer work and what he writes about. And what does that
say about your son? What kind of person he is? That he’s determined
to makethings better. That’s him. One of his
poems was about feeding the poor, no matter
what it takes. Yes, and it, it
sounds like Joe is one of the type
of people that believes “where there’s a
will, there’s a way” – and he has a history of not
giving in to hopelessness. Yeah, one could say
that about Joe. I agree. So, Joe, I’m getting the
impression that, for the past several days you’ve,
been able to stand up to “hopelessness” so that it
is not taking control of your life. Do you agree
with that? Yeah, you could…
you could say that. And how about you,
Jane and Bill, do you, believe that
Joe has taken some small steps
in standing up to “hopelessness” so
that it’s not controlling his life? I would say so. Yeah…some small steps. So, Joe, what effect
did it have on you the rest of the day, of those
past few days when you, were not letting
hopelessness keep you from getting up in the morning
and going to school? Well um, I like… I like seeing my
parents up before me in the morning um at least on,
on the week days; and on the weekends
we sleep in some. Jane: That goes for
all of us.(chuckling) So what difference
does that make for how the rest of
your day goes? Well,I like seeing my
friends again at school. Anything else? I um, I like not being so far behind on my school
work. Um I know I’m really far behind but, but I, I
feel like I can catch up now. If I try really hard. Wow! That’s the first time I’ve heard you say that. I’m really glad
to hear that! Joe, it sounds like,
for the past few days you have managed to take
some small steps towards freeing yourself from
“hopelessness.” Would you agree with that? Yeah, you
could say that. How about you, Bill
and Jane, do you agree that Joe has taken
some small steps toward freeing himself
from “hopelessness?” Narrator: Further amplifying the
exceptions, and actions, of personal agency, the
therapist uses the relationship question, to
thicken the new plot, and amplify change. Bill: Yeah, I would agree. Jane: Yeah, some
small steps. Now, using that warrior
image as a model, for finding strength and perseverance,
what else would be helpful to you in successfully standing up to
“hopelessness? ‘Um, well, seeing
my dad up in the morning, um before I am, or at least about the
same time I am. Joe, I want to
ask you to do something, and.. you can refuse, if
you feel uncomfortable. Um, I, I guess so. I’d like for
you to turn and, look at your dad and tell him how
important it is, for him to be up at the same time, or
at least, before you do. Narrator: Here the therapist is
inviting Joe and dad to do an enactment, a type of
intervention unique to structural family therapy.
Enactments ask family members to interact with
each other, in the session, in a way that provides
an opportunity to make changes in the session.
Enactments are also based on the assumptions, that
clients have skills, strengths, and resources,
to make the changes they desire. Therefore the
therapist does not teach the clients about how they
should talk to each, but does facilitate a process,
where they feel safe and supported enough, to
interact with each other differently. In addition,
enactments communicate to family members, that this
calls for changes in the family, and not just the
person in the family with the presenting problem. Joe: Dad….I just realized
these past couple days, that for some reason, I
really like it when your up before me in the
morning, or at least about the same time I am. How is it helpful for
you, to see your Dad in the
morning standing up to “hopelessness?” If that
fits for you, tell your Dad. Dad….when I see you
up in the morning, before I am,it…it.. helps me
feel like your fighting hopelessness too. Therapist: How is it
helpful to you, Joe? ….tell your Dad. Dad, I..I know it’s been hard on you because you’ve been
out of work…it’s been you…it’s been hard on
all of us…But when I see you up in the morning..
it tells me that you’re fighting “hopelessness”
too. And it,it
makes me feel better. I hear you, Joe.
I’m sorry I let you down. I’ll try but sometimes
I just..(voice trails off). It’s like Joe has
been reading my mind. Tell Bill that. Bill, I know you
have worked really hard to find construction work.
You not having a job is not your fault. Things are
close but we’re getting by, financially. You’re a
great guy, a great husband and father, whether you
have a job, or not. Thanks.
That’s good to know. You know, problems like hopelessness, can sneak up
on us, and take our hope for the future, and our
energy and our enthusiasm. In a family one person
can be infected, so to speak, and before long, the
entire family is infected – it can be very
contagious. Narrator: The therapist is further
externalizing the problem, to communicate that “the
problem IS the problem, and that they are not the
problem.” He is also further underscoring, that
this is a family situation, and not just about one
individual family member. Therapist: Joe, you also mentioned
that it helps you to stand up to hopelessness when,
both your parents are, up in the morning
and getting along. Mom and Dad, when, when I see you up in
the morning, hanging out together in the kitchen,
getting along…It ah, it makes me feel like
everything is going to be OK. It, it makes me feel
less hopeless. Well, I started
getting up early a few days ago
and there’s no reason I should stop it
now. I’m going to kick this hopelessness thing.
But sometimes, it just sneaks up on you and it
just takes over. Yeah, that sounds
good to me too. So getting back to that 0 to 10 scale. Joe,
you ranked yourself yourself at a 3 last week,
where would you, rank yourself, on the 0
to 10 scale today? Narrator: The therapist is asking
the scaling question, to continue to monitor change,
which also provides feedback to the family
members and the therapist, on the family’s progress. Joe: Well, at the beginning of
today’s meeting I would, I would say that, that I was
at a 4. But, but now that we’ve talked, I think I’m
at least a 5. Therapist: OK. Thanks, Joe. So how about you, Bill
and Jane, last week you ranked Joe at a 2, where
do you rank him this week on that 0 to 10 scale? Well, I’m like Joe, in that, I see things being better,
today than when, before we started
our meeting. So I would have
to say a 5. I would say a 6 but it’s,
only been a few days since Joe started getting up
on his own and going to school. How do you feel
Bill? I agree. But if he gets up to go to
school every day, that would put
him at a 6. So how will
you know when Joe has moved up a point, to a 6?
What will Joe be doing that will tell you that
he has moved up from a 5 to a
6, on that scale, and that he’s, not giving
in to hopelessness? Well if he
continues getting up on his own and going to
school, like he has been for this past week. Therapist: How bout
you Bill? I agree. If he gets
up every day and goes to school, that
would put him at a 6. How about you, Joe,
do you agree with your parents? Well, if um,
if I would get up every day and keep going
to school, I think I would be at least at a 7! I
think that would be a huge improvement! And um So,
no, I don’t agree with them on this. Therapist: Joe, what do
you think would be there in place of hopelessness? I guess, I guess
feeling good – like a, like ah
positive attitude. You mean like the positive
attitude you have, that derives from all of your
volunteer work, because you’re doing something
that changes the world? Yeah…like….like that. Outside of your mom and
Dad, who else knows that you have a history
of being a positive person? Narrator: The therapist is
introducing the idea of seeking other people, who
can be an audience to the changes reflected in the
new story about Joe. This is called an “outsider
witness” in Narrative Therapy. Having outsiders
notice and validate the changes, helps consolidate
and stabilize them. Joe: I, I guess some of my
teachers at school. Um, there’s one especially
that says you’re, you’re “changing the world” with all of your
volunteer efforts. What can you do
between now and, next week to get that to happen?
That is, for Joe to get up and get to school every
day, this coming week, and stand up to hopelessness. Jane: Well, every morning
when the alarm goes off for school, Joe just,
needs to tell himself that, even though
he wants to go back to sleep, he’s better
off, getting up and facing
hopelessness. Therapist: You mean, something
like, telling himself that he’s stronger,
than hopelessness? Yeah…and showing
hopelessness who’s the boss. Therapist: What about you, Bill? Well I agree I think that that Joe just needs
to, tell himself that he’s strong and that he needs
to go get up and get ready, and get to school on time. So Joe doing that would
then indicate to you that he’s turned the corner to
being hopeful, not only about the present,
but also the future? Yeah that’s right. Therapist: Does that make
sense to you Joe? Yeah…I like the idea of
being my own boss, I’ll be like a warrior if I did
that.(Smiling). What else can you do that would, make it
possible for Joe to move up at one point on
that 0 to 10 scale? Well, as we
talked earlier, I think it’s important
that I get up, spend some time with Jane, drinking coffee, reading
the paper, hanging out in the kitchen with them. I
think that would not only help me, but it
would help Joe and would help
all of us. So let me ask you,
where do you see the family, on that 0 to 10
scale, in terms of feeling hopefull, versus hopeless? Well, I can only
speak for myself but I see us as
being at a 5 today. And what does a
5 mean to you? Well, given what we’ve been talking about, last
week, and today, I can now see that we all, needed,
to start talking to each other, and listening,
to each other more. Things have been really
tough, and they’re going to continue to be for a
while. But, I know we’re going to get through
this rough period. I agree. And it feels good talking
about these things. How will you know when you have moved
up one point? What will you have to do
to get that to happen? Well, I think just talking
to each other and listening to each other more. I think if I um,
if I raise my social studies grade
from a D to a C? Um you know I, I used to get A’s
all the time. and, and, and I know that I’m far
behind, but, I feel that I can catch up now. And I think I’ll find ]
myself in the library …looking for jobs
on the computer. I’ve looked for construction
work everywhere else. But there may be some places
that I don’t know to look. Well, I appreciate that,
all 3 of you are in your own ways, have, become very
interested in freeing yourselves from
hopelessness. And I’m very impressed that you have
been able to move up the 0 to 10 scale by at least 1
or 2 points. That, usually takes 3 or 4 sessions for
most families. But, I’m very impressed that you are
able to do that, make that much progress in one
session. To make that kind of progress you must
really be remembering the ways in which you
are standing up to hopelessness and, I’m impressed with some of
your ideas of how you are going to continue to do so
…not only individually

Comments (1)

  1. I love the family program❤️

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