Family therapy


M4 Assignment 1 – “What Not To Do” Observation

Having read the “What Not to Do” corner, look for one or several episodes of “Reality Therapy” talk shows which exemplify the discussed what-not-to-do principle (client judging). TV and Youtube are full of examples of what you, as a family therapist, should avoid (e.g., Dr. Drew’s interview with Nadya Suleman, etc.). You may choose to watch a YouTube or other available video, or a current or recorded television show where a TV personality such as Dr. Drew or Dr. Phil is working with onstage “clients.” Find a video where the audience is allowed to comment to the clients in a judgmental manner. Does the therapist (Dr. Drew, Dr. Phil or other host) intervene on behalf of the client(s)? Or do they allow the audience to become a part of the entertainment at the cost of the client’s fear?

Write a 2-page analysis of the therapist behavior you have observed. In your paper, include who the therapist and client were and the overall goal of the intervention. Also include the URL if the video was accessed online so the instructor may watch the same video to provide appropriate feedback to your work.

First, factually describe the therapist’s and audience members’ behavior and the client’s reactions. The description should be neutral and should include only facts (e.g., an audience member accused the client of lying, the client tilted his head down and started crying). In this section of the paper, you are describing only what you observed (not your assumptions or emotional reactions to the therapy session).

In the second section of the paper, analyze the effect of the therapist’s and audience members’ behavior on the overall intervention goal. Analyze possible reasons for the behavior chosen by the therapist and suggest what feelings the methods might have caused in the client.

As the conclusion, suggest how the situation should have been handled and give the reasoning behind your suggestions.

The paper should be 2 pages long ( excluding cover and reference pages) and you must relate your observations to the course readings in the textbook (the chapters assigned for Modules One, Two, Three and Four) and at least one other scholarly source. Please cite using APA style.

Additional info:

M4 “What Not To Do” Corner

When individuals or families seek therapy, there may be family members, spouses, relatives or friends who believe therapy “will not do you any good,” or “is a waste of your time and money.” These well-meaning individuals may share negative thoughts and feelings with the person or family who is looking for therapeutic help. The family/individual seeking help may view these well-meaning comments as a personal attack. Sometimes people are afraid to share they are seeking counseling or therapy for fear of being judged.

While TV therapists are entertaining to some, it is counter-intuitive to the therapeutic process. There are many examples of “What Not To Do” and how the world of reality entertainment can provide those needing services, an excuse for not pursuing help. Many use the fear of being judged as a way out of therapy. This type of interaction can justify that fear.

Dr. Drew’s interview of Nadya Suleman may be considered an example (the video and a short description of it are provided below). Notice that Dr. Drew doesn’t stop the audience member from attacking the guest.

An Audience Member Speaks Out Against Octomomopens in a new window video (1:18)

In this short video clip, Nadya Suleman (infamously known as “Octomom” because of her giving birth to eight children at the same time in 1998) is a guest on the Dr. Drew Pinsky television show. Nadya was offered the assistance of an “au pair” (a nanny) by Dr. Drew; which she refused stating she wants to care for her 14 children by herself. (Nadya already had 6 children when she gave birth to the octuplets.) Dr. Drew then allows an audience member to accuse Nadya of refusing help in raising her children at the expense of her children. An audience member does not believe one person, Nadya, can appropriately raise 14 children all by herself without assistance. This audience member accuses Nadya of being “self-absorbed” and only caring about herself. The same audience member says Nadya is “severely neglecting” her children.

The well-meaning audience member in this Dr. Drew video clip appears to display a genuine concern for Nadya’s children. Family members and friends of individuals in therapy may also display a genuine concern when they make comments which are perceived as negative. In the perception of the client (Nadya) in this video clip, the comments of the audience member comes across as a negative experience for her and she feels she needs to defend herself. Individuals in therapy may also experience similar incidents.

One of the responsibilities of a therapist is to be aware of potential negative feedback opportunities from within or outside of the therapeutic process. Within couples or family therapy sessions one of the participants should not be allowed to make “well-meaning” but misguided comments which would hurt the therapeutic process.