Strategic and Systemic Therapies

Strategicand Systemic Therapies

Strategicand Systemic Therapies

Strategicand Systemic family therapies aim at altering a patient’s behaviorinstead of the perception causing the problem. These therapists havereputation of focusing on altering patients’ behaviors instead ofits cause using creative intervention methods. The following essaysummarizes potential intervention approaches the professionals mayapply on Jose, a sixteen-year-old afraid of going outside theirhouse.

Accordingto MRI therapy, humans make rational, but imprudent effort to resolvetheir issues. Several system principles determine the solution afamily chooses and its probability of succeeding. However, if thepresumed solution fails to work as the family expected, the problemdeteriorates (Minuchin, 1974). Similarly, Jose was probably unable toresolve a common problem outside their house. Although the patient’sfamily has an effective strategy for resolving the problem, Joseprobably tried to address the issue on his own and failed. Besides,the failed attempt, to address the problem, made it worse hence, heis staying in the house to avoid adverse consequences associated withthe unresolved issue (Nichols, 2012). An experienced MRI therapistcan resolve the issue through identifying the unresolved problem, andthen understanding how to fix it. The therapists then adjust loop(problem) and its principles (rules) just to convince the patient istemporarily. The solution is temporary since therapists do notaddress possible underlying causes of the problem (Nichols, 2012).

Onthe contrary, a Haley-style strategic therapist would associateJose’s problem with the environment. As a result, he or she wouldattribute Jose’s fear to go out of his house as a problem createdby his family members while attempting to correct his bad behaviors.The therapist would then address the psychological problem throughmanipulating Jose’s mind to think the way he wants (Minuchin,1974). Experienced therapists manipulate their patient’s mind tobelieve as they wish by using techniques such as hypnosis (Haley,1993). Haley-style strategic therapy overlooks insight as part oftreatment thus, a healthcare expert would advocate Jose’s familyto reduce resistance. Jose would in turn feel and think differentlyonce the home conflicts are resolved (Nichols, 2012).

Accordingto Madanes-style strategic therapist, Jose’s problem is associatedwith a structural flaw in the family. Probably, Jose’s parents areinvolved in a form of a power struggle such as marital conflict. Thismakes Jose afraid that if he goes out of the house, the dominantparty or family will harm the weaker person. The child’s symptomsare aimed at altering parents’ or conflicting party’s behaviors.Madanes-style therapy would address Jose’s problem throughidentifying the structural problem hindering him from going outside,and then resolving it (Minuchin, 1974). For instance, if he is afraidthat if he leaves the house his father might injure his mother asthey are constantly, fighting, a therapist should aim at solving theparent’s issue (Madanes, 1991). Once Jose is guaranteed that, bothhis parents have reconciled, he would confidently leave the house.Therapist successfully changes the attitude and family structurecausing the issue through keeping the patients’ resistance down andemphasizing on behavioral change of the concerned individuals. Hecontended that a family requires acting differently so that patientscan start feeling or thinking differently (Nichols, 2012).

Finally,a Milan-style systemic therapist would associate Jose’s problem toboundaries and power struggles with his family that have likelyexisted for several generations. Milan therapy differs from Madanesand Haley in that it advocates provision of “neutral” treatment.This implies that a professional would address Jose’s issue throughjust observing the family and then asking questions that can helpthem understand them to understand their family structure (Minuchin,1974). Once the therapist understands Jose’s family structure, hethen gives them advice regarding efficient ways they can design a newstructure that would suit Jose. Milan therapy would also focus onexposing the concealed power struggles and historical issues thatmake Jose stay at home in order to assist a family member win thebattle (Boscolo et al., 1987). Occasionally, Milan therapy identifiesa motivated member of the family when providing medication. Althoughthe individual may not be a patient, he or she can be an efficientcause for change (Nichols, 2012).


Nichols,M. P. (2012). Familytherapy: Concepts and methods(10th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Minuchin,S. (1974). Families&amp family therapy.Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press.

Haley,J. (1993). JayHaley on Milton H. Erickson.Psychology Press.

Madanes,C. (1991). Strategicfamily therapy.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Boscolo,L., Cecchin, G., &amp Hoffman, L. (1987). Milansystemic family therapy: Conversations in theory and practice.New York: Basic Books.