Family Therapy - Concepts, Process and Practice 3e
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More About This Title Family Therapy - Concepts, Process and Practice 3e


Now in its third edition, this highly regarded and well-established textbook includes up-to-date coverage of recent advances in family therapy practice and reviews of latest research, whilst retaining the popular structure and chapter features of previous editions.
  • Presents a unique, integrative approach to the theory and practice of family therapy
  • Distinctive style addresses family behaviour patterns, family belief systems and narratives, and broader contextual factors in problem formation and resolution
  • Shows how the model can be applied to address issues of childhood and adolescence (e.g. conduct problems, drug abuse) and of adulthood (e.g. marital distress, anxiety, depression)
  • Student-friendly features: chapters begin with a chapter plan and conclude with a summary of key points; theoretical chapters include a glossary of new terms; case studies and further reading suggestions are included throughout


Professor Alan Carr is the director of the Doctoral training programme in clinical psychology at University College Dublin and Consultant Couple and Family Therapist at the Clanwilliam Institute in Dublin. He has published over 20 books and 200 academic papers and conference presentations in the fields of family therapy and clinical psychology. He has extensive experience in family therapy and clinical psychology, having worked in the field in the UK, Ireland, and Canada.


About the Author  ix

Foreword to the Third Edition  xi

Preface  xiii

Acknowledgements  xvii

Part One Central Concepts in Family Therapy  1

Chapter 1 Goals of Family Therapy across the Lifecycle  3

The Family Lifecycle 5

Lifecycle Stages Associated with Separation and Divorce  33

The Individual Lifecycle  41

Gender-role Development  48

Gay and Lesbian Lifecycles  49

Class, Creed and Colour  51

Conclusion  52

Further Readings  53

Chapter 2 Origins of Family Therapy  54

Movements: Child Guidance, Marriage Counselling and Sex Therapy 55

Disciplines: Social Work, Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology  56

Group Therapy: Group Analysis, Encounter Groups, Psychodrama and Gestalt Therapy 57

Research Traditions: Work Groups, Role Theory and Schizophrenia  59

Gregory Bateson  62

Three Organising Themes: Behaviour Patterns, Beliefs and Contexts  74

Conclusion  76

Glossary  77

Further Readings  79

Chapter 3 Theories that Focus on Behaviour Patterns  81

MRI Brief Therapy  81

Strategic Family Therapy  91

Structural Family Therapy 95

Cognitive-behavioural Couple and Family Therapy  98

Functional Family Therapy  101

Conclusion  104

Glossary  105

Further Readings  111

Chapter 4 Theories that Focus on Belief Systems  115

Epistemology: Positivism, Constructivism, Socialconstructionism, Modernism and Postmodernism  115

A Constructivist Approach to Family Therapy 125

Milan Systemic Family Therapy  130

Social-constructionist Developments  133

Solution-focused Therapy  137

Narrative Therapy  140

Conclusion  144

Glossary  146

Further Readings 154

Chapter 5 Theories that Focus on Contexts 160

Transgenerational Family Therapy  160

Psychoanalytic Family Therapy  170

Attachment-based Therapies  172

Experiential Family Therapy  180

Multisystemic Family Therapy  187

Psychoeducational Family Therapy 188

Conclusion  190

Glossary  191

Further Readings  199

Chapter 6 Integrative Models  202

Metaframeworks  202

Integrative Problem-centred Therapy  205

Integrative Problem-centred Metaframeworks  208

Attachment Narrative Therapy  209

Integrative Couple Therapy  210

Affective-reconstructive Couple Therapy  212

Integrative Applications within Specific Professions 214

Conclusion  215

Glossary  216

Further Readings  216

Part Two Processes in Family Therapy  219

Chapter 7 The Stages of Family Therapy  221

Stage 1. Planning  221

Stage 2. Assessment  225

Stage 3. Treatment  244

Stage 4. Disengaging or Recontracting 250

Conclusion  255

Further Readings  255

Chapter 8 Formulating Problems and Exceptions  256

The Three-column Problem-formulation Model  259

The Three-column Exception-formulation Model  267

Questions to Ask when Constructing Three-column Formulations  271

Recursive Reformulation  277

Conclusion  279

Further Reading  279

Chapter 9 Interventions for Behaviour, Beliefs and Contexts  280

Criteria for Selecting Interventions  280

Behaviour-focused Interventions  284

Interventions Focusing on Belief Systems  299

Interventions Focusing on Historical, Contextual and Constitutional Factors 307

Conclusion  320

Further Readings  320

Part Three Family Therapy Practice with Childand Adolescent-focused Problems 321

Chapter 10 Conduct Problems  323

Systemic Model of Conduct Problems  326

Family Therapy for Conduct Problems  332

Conclusion  344

Further Readings  345

Chapter 11 Drug Misuse in Adolescence  346

Systemic Model of Drug Misuse in Adolescence  346

Family Therapy for Drug Misuse in Adolescence  354

Conclusion  360

Further Readings  360

Part Four Family Therapy Practice with Adult-focused Problems 361

Chapter 12 Distressed Couples  363

Systemic Model of Distressing Intimate Relationships  365

Couple Therapy  370

Conclusion  386

Further Readings  386

Chapter 13 Depression and Anxiety  388

Depression  388

Anxiety  390

Systemic Model of Depression and Anxiety  392

Couple Therapy for Depression and Anxiety  397

Conclusion  411

Further Readings  411

Part Five Research and Resources  413

Chapter 14 Evidence-based Practice in Couple and Family Therapy 415

Overall Effectiveness and Cost-effectiveness of Systemic Therapy 415

Child-focused Problems  416

Adult-focused Problems  437

Common Factors  452

Conclusion  453

Glossary  454

Further Reading  455

Chapter 15 Professional Resources  456

Written Communication  456

Training Exercises  462

Conclusion  486

References  488

Index  526


“It should continue to be considered as a valuable ‘essential’ text for those undertaking training in systemic/family psychotherapy and as a key reference for experienced therapists and educators in the field.”  (Child & Family Social Work, 10 October 2014)