Sample Social Work and Human Services Paper on Family Therapy Models

Paper Length: 4-7 pages plus genogram

For this paper, you will complete an assessment including a genogram and ecomap, describing a selected family and applying one of the family therapy theories used in the course. For this assignment, you may select your own family, a family that you have worked with recently or a family portrayed in one of the following:

  • Film: My Family (Mi Familia)- 1995
  • Film: Beasts of the Southern Wild -2012
  • Book: Maid (2020) Stephanie Land


  1. Genogram: Provide a three to four-generation genogram of the family of origin (four generations if you have any children). Include all relevant aspects of a Cultural Genogram (from the Hardy & Lasloffy, 1995 article).  Also include symbols denoting interactional patterns between people.  [Note:  This can be hand-drawn if you choose as long as it is neat].



  1. Ecomap: Pick a point in time that you will focus your paper on (present or past) and complete an ecomap for that point in time.



  1. Description of your family: Provide a brief narrative description of significant relationship patterns among family members noted on your genogram.  Make sure you include theoretically significant issues such as communication patterns, boundaries, subsystems,  hierarchy, feedback loops, triangles, roles, and family rules.

Once you have described the family relationship patterns, complete the following:


  1. Discuss any similarities you see between the relationship patterns you observe in the family of origin and in the focal client’s current significant relationships.
  2. Given some of the relational patterns, events, stressors, and descriptors noted in the genogram, please reflect on any potential “blinders” or “blind spots” that you may have that may get in the way of your practice with clients. In other words, are there certain issues (healthy or unhealthy, resolved or unresolved, functional or dysfunctional) that would impact your work with clients in ways that you need to be aware of?


  1. No family is perfect or problem-free – all families struggle with issues, concerns and transitions through time. Given what you have presented in your genogram and how you have described the family, discuss one area of concern that could be (or could have been in the past) addressed in therapy.


  1. Application of Theory: Select TWO of the Family Therapy Models covered in class (e.g. Humanistic/Communications, Bowenian, Structural, Strategic, Solution-Focused, CBT, Emotion-Focused).  Discuss how each of the two-family therapy models you have chosen would go about addressing the issue you described in 3c above in family therapy. Make use of theoretical principles and interventions consistent with your chosen models.  Make sure you include, for each of the two theories SEPARATELY:


  1. How does this theory conceptualize this problem/issue?

Discuss in detail how you would conceptualize the family’s problem from the perspective of the two theories you chose.  (This is called a case conceptualization).  Include your assessment of the family’s life-cycle stage (and its impact on the problem), any external stressors (and their impact on the problem) and important family dynamics (according to what your chosen theory sees as important [e.g. some theories would describe issues with boundaries or hierarchy, some would look at triangles, others might be looking for difficulties in communication, and others for difficulties expressing genuine emotion).  Questions you will need to ask yourself include:


  1. What causes problems for families according to this theory, and so what does this theory say about what is causing problems for this family?


  1. What concepts does this theory use that I can apply to this family to help me understand them and their problems?



  • What are the internal (e.g. changes in family life cycle stage) and external stressors that may be challenging the family’s ability to cope at this time?


  1. What are the goals of treatment for your specific family? (Remember this should be goals that are consistent with the theoretical orientation you chose).  Of course, in real life, you are developing goals in collaboration with the family, so you will need to be creative about coming up with the rest of your family’s input.


  1. What will be your role in working with this family (assuming it wasn’t your own family)? (Remember this must be consistent with the role of the therapist in the theory you choose).  Describe how that role will look in your work with your specific family.



  1. What are the strategies or techniques you would use in working with this family? Describe specifically what you will do, and what you are trying to accomplish in using those techniques.


  1. Discuss the pros and cons of the two models for your family, and which of the two models you think your family would find more helpful. Why?



  1. Identify needs not addressed by the selected theory and provide a plan for addressing those needs.

NOTE:  It is very important that your paper is VERY SPECIFIC about 1) what constructs you are using from the theory and about 2) how you would apply those constructs with this specific family (not a generic family – your family specifically).

NOTE: It is important to undertake this assignment with a degree of openness to learning about the subject matter and about yourself as a person in context. This paper will be graded on your degree of openness to learning about yourself in relation to your family, the thoroughness of information (i.e. collection of data for genogram) you provide, your self-awareness/ability to discern relational/family/transgenerational/structural patterns, the accuracy of course concepts and application of theory and interventions used in your paper, and your writing/grammar/organization. APA 7 format is required for all citations.