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Comparison Worksheet-Bowenian and Structural Family System Theories

Comparison Worksheet-Bowenian and Structural Family System Theories

Family Scenario:

Ms. Wendy is a 21-year-old college student living in her parent’s house. She lives with both of her parents and a paternal aunt. The family sought therapy after Wendy reported experiencing multiple episodes of anxiety and sometimes panic attacks. She reports that she hardly concentrates in class and is sometimes forced to miss some classes. Her parents, Mr. And Mrs. Kalvin, have been married for over 25 years. Their marriage had recently been troublesome. This prompted them to seek therapy, which seems not to have been helpful. They often quarrel, even in Wendy’s presence. The aunt recounts that Wendy’s parents “fight a lot and have neglected their daughter”. She adds that they rarely speak to her and are entrenched in their issues most of the time. Wendy claims she continuously worries that her parents may fight again and is now asking to move out to stay alone. The family seeks therapy to forge a way forward on the issue. In this case, Wendy’s main presentation of anxiety may be a result of her parents’ quarrels. Resolving the issues between her parents may alleviate her suffering.

Part 2: Complete the specific fields in the chart for each chosen theory. All sections will require a 50-75-word description except for the section where you list the three treatment interventions. Include at least six scholarly resources in addition to the course textbook and in-text citations as appropriate. Include a full APA reference for the resources used below.

  Multi-Person Family Therapy

(a session including more than one family member present)

Single-Person Family Systems Approach

(a session using a family systems theory with only one person present)

Individual Counseling Theory

(any theory of your choice from topics 1-5)

Theory Bowenian Family Theory Structural Family Theory Behavioural theory
Roles of the Counselor and Client(s) (50-75 words each) Therapy is aimed at fostering healthy relationships between family members. The role of the counsellor is to help the client see other family members as humans with individual needs and not by the family they assume (Thompson et al., 2019). The client’s role in this regard is to recognize triangulation and not allow it to inform their behaviour. A therapist using the structural family theory helps the family members explore and identify hierarchies within the family and adopt clear boundaries between the family members. This can help them improve their communication processes with other family members and create positive changes within the family. The client sets appropriate boundaries with other family members. A therapist using behavioural theory helps the clients identify unhealthy thinking patterns and how these patterns contribute to the self-destructive behaviours that manifest. The therapists also work with the client to help them think more constructively. The client is to express their concern with the therapy process and learn and implement what they have learned.
Describe the state of dysfunction.

How would you describe the problem from each theoretical orientation? (50-75 words each)

Family dysfunctional states described in Bowen’s theory are believed to be cross-generational. In this regard, problematic behaviours can be passed on to siblings. The theory views the family as a single emotional unit in which individual conflictual interactions can be triangulated with other family members. It recommends a family approach to addressing behavioural patterns manifested by a family member. As detailed by the structural family theory, family dysfunctions result from strained interactions between family members. It suggests that strained family interaction and consequent dysfunctional relationships can create stress and other mental health issues within the family (Finney & Tadros, 2019). Addressing how individual family members relate to one another can resolve these issues. The theory is based on behaviourism, which details environmental influences on learning. A dysfunctional state is a consequence of maladaptive responses learned from the environment or adaptive responses that may not have been learned. The theory suggests that since old learning contributed to the problem, new learning or unlearning can fix it (Ratnayake & Poppe, 2020).
Process of Change

How is change accomplished? (50-75 words each)

Bowen’s approach to therapy is targeted at fostering healthy family relationships by breaking toxic relationships that may contribute to an individual’s suffering. It focuses on developing healthy differentiation among family members (Calatrava et al., 2022). This enables individual family members to stop conflictual interactions that may be triangulated with them. It uses techniques such as I-statements to achieve this objective. As the structural family therapy postulates, the change process is accomplished by addressing how family members relate to one another. It suggests therapeutic interventions such as family mapping to uncover causal factors for relationship strains. It provides a framework for addressing them to improve communication and promote relationships that create positive changes within the family (Jiménez et al., 2019). The change process can be accomplished by teaching individuals new behaviours to eliminate or minimize the issue. The change process suggested by this theory is action-based and employs evaluative, cognitive, and effective processes to unlearn or fix a behaviour. Techniques that can be utilized in accomplishing the change process include aversion and systemic desensitization.
List 3 Treatment Interventions Intervention 1: Genograms


Intervention 2: I-statements.


Intervention 3: Psychoeducation on normalizing changes.

Intervention 1: Cognitive reframing


Intervention 2: Family mapping


Intervention 3: Boundary making

Intervention 1: Systematic desensitization.


Intervention 2: Extinction.


Intervention 3: Behavioral modeling.


Important Ethical Considerations (50-75 words each) Confidentiality remains an ethical concern when working with families using the Bowenian approach. Confidentiality requires that the client-counselor communication be kept between them. However, when working with families, specific revelations that are unknown by other family members may be made by a family member but are pivotal in guiding the trajectory of therapy. Counsellors, however, must maintain confidentiality. Participation and cooperation are vital in family therapy utilizing the structural therapy approach. Its success depends on how well the family members cooperate with the therapist in designing therapeutic plans. Informed consent is, therefore, an important ethical consideration. The success of the process is jeopardized if some family members refuse to be involved. Ethical issues of informed consent and harm are apparent when using the behavioural therapy approach. Some therapeutic interventions highlighted in this approach, such as exposure-based therapy, may present will-oriented harm to the clients. In this regard, informed consent may be necessitated (Ratnayake & Poppe, 2020). Even so, clients still encounter this approach with rational ambivalence due to its harm potential.
How would this theory help the family establish a new homeostasis in your scenario? (50-75 words each) The family seems to be dysfunctional. Wendy’s parents are entrenched in their couple issues. Wendy, on the other hand, is reporting anxiety symptoms. The communication process between Wendy and her parents is also strained. Encouraging healthy differentiation between family members, emphasizing conflict resolution, healthy communication, and establishing appropriate boundaries may help the family establish a new homeostasis. The communication process between Wendy and her parents was strained. Her aunt reported that Wendy’s parents do not communicate with her frequently. Improving communication between Wendy and her parents and promoting a healthy relationship may effectively address this strained relationship and establish a new homeostasis. Behavioural theory may be beneficial to Wendy. Case findings reveal that she presented with anxiety. Cognitive behavioural theory, a form of behavioural therapy, maintains significance in managing anxiety symptoms (Moberg et al., 2019). This therapeutic approach will equip the client with skills enabling them to think and react differently, thus establishing a new homeostasis. 


Calatrava, M., Martins, M. V., Schweer-Collins, M., Duch-Ceballos, C., & Rodríguez-González, M. (2022). Differentiation of self: A scoping review of Bowen family systems theory’s core construct. Clinical Psychology Review, 91, 102101.

Finney, N., & Tadros, E. (2019). Integration of structural family therapy and dialectical behaviour with high-conflict couples. The Family Journal, 27(1), 31–36.

Jiménez, L., Hidalgo, V., Baena, S., León, A., & Lorence, B. (2019). Effectiveness of structural–strategic family therapy in the treatment of adolescents with mental health problems and their families. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(7), 1255.

Moberg, C., Niles, A., & Beermann, D. (2019). Guided self-help works Randomized waitlist controlled trial of Pacifica, a mobile app integrating cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness for stress, anxiety, and Depression. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21(6).

Ratnayake, S., & Poppe, C. (2020). Ethical issues in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Oxford Handbook of Psychotherapy Ethics, 513–528.

Thompson, H. M., Wojciak, A. S., & Cooley, M. E. (2019). FamA family-based roach to the child welfare system: An Integratingwen family theory concepts. Journal of Family Social Work, 22(3), 231–252.


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Directions: Choose two family systems theories (Bowenian, Structural, Strategic, or Satir) and one individual counselling theory studied in this course (any theory studied in topics 1-5) and compare the three theories.

Part 1: Create a hypothesis

Comparison Worksheet-Bowenian and Structural Family System Theories

Comparison Worksheet-Bowenian and Structural Family System Theories

tical family. Develop a scenario that has caused this family to seek counselling. The scenario should be 150-250 words in length. Be sure to include the following in the scenario: 1) Identify the members of the family; 2) The problem/focus of therapy; 3) Family rules which enabled the problem to continue; and 4) rationale for who the identified patient (IP) is.

Part 2: Complete each chosen theory’s specific fields in the chart. All sections will require a 50-75-word description except for the section where you list the three treatment interventions. Include at least six scholarly resources in addition to the course textbook and in-text citations as appropriate. Include a full APA reference for the resources used below.

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