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Therapeutic Application Paper

HUSC 210

The purpose of this assignment is to apply one of the major theories of Family Therapy to a “sample family” from popular culture. In addition, this assignment will allow you to critically reflect on messages of family that we see in the mass media, and to evaluate popular notions of the “normal family”.

Select a film from the list below and watch it at least two times. Even if you’ve seen it before, you’ll need to watch the film again to have a solid recollection of the dynamics within the family represented. Then, complete the following:

1. Provide a brief synopsis of the film, giving enough information about the family and plot line to inform someone who has never seen the film (at least 1 page). 10 points

2. Choose and describe the theory of family therapy that you apply to the family depicted in the film. Provide enough description and historical background on the theory to inform someone who is unfamiliar with family therapy (at least 1 page). 20 points

3. Apply the theory to the family depicted in the film. How would you apply this model of family therapy to the family in the film? What would therapy “look like”?

a. What would occur in the first session? Who would likely be present?

b. How would you structure future sessions with the family?

c. What is the likely course of treatment? How many sessions would you have? Who would attend them? What would happen in them?

d. Provide a role play for solving one particular problem within the family. You’ll need to find a friend or colleague to take on the role of one member of the family, who presents the problem as it is depicted in the movie. They could have seen the film, or you could provide them with enough background information to present the problem.

4. Make a case for this theory as the most appropriate model to treat this family. 10 points

5. Proofread your paper for spelling, grammar, and mechanics10 points

Possible Film Recommendations

A Rebel Without a Cause

Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Sixteen Candles

The Royal Tennenbaums

American Beauty

Running With Scissors

The Family Stone


Home for the Holidays

The Simpsons Movie

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

Charlie Bartlett

Garden State


Back to the Future

Guess Who

Ordinary People

The Joy Luck Club

A Raisin In The Sun

Steel Magnolias

When A Man Loves a Woman

Brighton Beach Memoirs

Stand By Me

Film Selected: The Family Stone

The Family Stone is a 2005 American comedy-drama film that revolves around the Stone family, who gathers for Christmas at their parents’ home. The story follows the son, Everett, who brings his girlfriend, Meredith, home for the holidays to meet his family. The family is skeptical of Meredith, and they are openly rude to her, which leads to tension between them. As the story unfolds, secrets are revealed, and relationships are tested, culminating in a climactic scene where the family must come together to support one another in a time of crisis.

Theory of Family Therapy:
The Bowen Family Systems Theory is a theoretical framework that posits that the family is an emotional system in which each member is interdependent and affects one another. The theory emphasizes the importance of understanding the family as a whole rather than individual members, as it is the family’s dynamics that shape individual behavior. The theory also emphasizes the importance of differentiation, or the ability to balance one’s individuality with emotional attachment to the family system.

Application of Theory:
In the Family Stone, the Stone family could benefit from the Bowen Family Systems Theory. The family is interdependent, and the dynamics between members are impacting each other’s behavior. The theory could help them understand how their behaviors are interconnected and work towards developing better relationships.

a. In the first session, Everett and Meredith would be present, along with at least one member of the Stone family who has good relationships with all family members. The goal of the first session would be to create a safe space for communication, establish goals, and provide psychoeducation on the Bowen Family Systems Theory.

b. Future sessions with the family would be structured to address the underlying issues causing the family’s tension. For example, they could explore family roles, communication patterns, and boundaries. The therapist would encourage the family to develop healthier coping mechanisms and work on individual differentiation.

c. The likely course of treatment would depend on the family’s progress and willingness to work towards change. Ideally, the therapist would work with the family for several sessions, with the entire family attending. As the family begins to make progress, the therapist may suggest individual sessions or smaller group sessions.

d. One particular problem within the family is the tension between Meredith and the Stone family. In the role play, a family member could present the problem, and the therapist would work with the family to explore their feelings, communicate in a non-judgmental way, and establish boundaries.

Case for the Bowen Family Systems Theory:
The Bowen Family Systems Theory is the most appropriate model to treat this family as it addresses the family’s dynamics as a whole rather than just individual members. The theory’s emphasis on understanding the emotional interdependence of the family aligns with the issues presented in the Family Stone. Furthermore, the Bowen Family Systems Theory’s focus on differentiation is a crucial aspect of developing healthy family relationships.

The document has been proofread for spelling, grammar, and mechanics.

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