Social Work Practice with Families

Subject: Sociology
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 2
Word count: 616
Topics: Social Work, Friendship, Love, Psychoanalysis, Social Psychology

How does the search for exceptions help alter the family story and why is this search necessary?

According to Van Hook, (2014), narrative family therapy is dependent on the assumption that the household solutions to their problems lie in the meanings, which people attribute to their events. Because each family member relies on their version of the facts, which in most cases differ from others, the search for exceptions offers them with a unique platform for agreement. Van Hook, (2014) argues that the story that people hold, although they do not mirror life, help in shaping it. Consequently, exceptions, which are subject to the constraints of culture or socializations in the family therapy, help therapists to provide a way for the family to agree and search for solutions instead of spending effort on the shared problems. On the other hand, Levy, (2006) argues that meta-analysis theories advocate for the therapist to concentrate on both social and structural aspects for exceptions. The social interactions and micro perspectives, for instance, according to Levy, (2006) focus therapy on the individual and his or her interactions with other members. The search for exceptions is, therefore, necessary because it allows all members of the family to recognize their role in creating a shared social link that contributes to the solution and not the problem.

In the case of The Fosters, for example, the issue of culture secondary to a gay couple and multiracial family are eminent. When Lena and Stef, the lesbian couple, adopt Callie into their home, in the “Pilot” episode, they view her as another child in need of a family. However, Callie wants more than her safety; she wants the adoption of her brother Jude who is in another foster home. Her desires bring frictions in a family that already has divisions. In family therapy, the aim would be to consider the exception that the children, regardless of their multiracial background, are eager to help each other, which is ground for unity. For instance, Brandon helps Callie get her brother while Jesus puts his health at risk for Mariana (Derrick Gilmore, 2013).

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Discuss ways in which the therapist can help solidify change

According to Levy, (2006), the application of a holistic orientation, which encompasses both structural and narrative theory, helps in addressing the role of social interaction and culture in change adoption and implementation. Therefore, methods such as the definition of social roles, for instance, gender and structural duties, for example, the authority of parents help in creating a solid reference point for action in the family. On the other hand, Van Hook, (2014) reasons that the goal of family therapy is to alter the interpretation of the members and their situations to allow them to liberate themselves. In other words, for family members to address their problems adequately and comprehensively, they should consider adoption of responses, which offer different meanings to their life events. Therefore, the goal is to ensure resilience. Van Hook, (2014) suggest ways such as the use of reflection teams, celebrations and certificates, and definitional ceremonies. Reflection groups, for example, help the family in their development of a new narrative, which is not problem-saturated. On the other hand, celebrations and certificates help validate the change and progress in therapy while definitional ceremonies reaffirm the new story to solidify change.

In the case of the Fosters, for instance, Lena, and Stef can resolve the problems, which arise because of the actions of Callie if they adopt Jude into the family. However, the adoption has to treat Jude as a separate entity and subject, who should not be punished because of the actions of his sister, for instance. It would help Callie take actions without the fear and guilt that it would ruin the chances of adoption for his brother into the family.

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  1. Derrick Gilmore. (2013). The Fosters. Hollywood, CA: American Broadcasting Company. Retrieved from
  2. Levy, J. (2006). Using a Metaperspective to Clarify the Structural-Narrative Debate in Family Therapy. Family Process, 45(1), 55–73.
  3. Van Hook, M. (2014). Social Work Practice with Families: A Resilliancy-based Approach. Lyceum Books, Incorporated.
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