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Spring, 2013




FT514: FAMILY THERAPY.   Carolyn Pela, Ph.D.




This course will equip students with theoretical concepts and practical methods for practicing therapy with families as systems.  Treatment methodologies will be reviewed for working with families throughout the family life cycle utilizing classic family therapy models (developmental, structural/strategic, communication, experiential, transgenerational, narrative/brief).  Family therapy models will be demonstrated through videotapes and role-plays.  Systemic concepts like interpersonal patterns, homeostasis and recursion, boundaries within and around systems and sub-systems, developmental life stages, sibling position, communication styles, and intergenerational dynamics will be addressed.  The course will also investigate applying family therapy theories to intervening with diverse populations.  Family resilience, culture, ethics in family therapy, ethnicity, race, gender, class and religious beliefs are presented as essential dimensions of the counseling process.  An additional objective of this course is to provide a framework for students to explore and understand their own family experiences and to assess how those experiences have impacted their development and may impact their clinical work.



1.       Have a practical understanding of the historical family therapy models.

2.       Understand of how to integrate approaches in work with couples and families.

3.       Practice a variety of family therapy techniques.

4.       Utilize multicultural, gender and faith contexts in family therapy.

5.       View families from a strength-based, collaborative, interactive stance.

6.       Integrate a spiritual dimension in family therapy.



Seminary Goals Related to Course:

Relevant Marriage and Family Learning Outcomes

1.       An understanding of major systemic theories related to interpersonal functioning in family life.

2.       An understanding of culturally diverse expressions of family norms.

3.       An ability to conceptualize family functioning from within an ecosystemic framework

4.       A personal commitment and rationale for serving families as an expression of their Christian vocation

5.       An ability to articulate core theological issues related to family theory and intervention

Relevant SOP Learning Outcomes

1.       Demonstrate the ability to provide excellent preventative and or transformational mental health services [to church and community].

2.       Graduates, in their scholarly and clinical work, will be equipped to apply the insights of Christian theology along with the knowledge and techniques of the social and behavioral sciences.

3.       Graduates will demonstrate an understanding of the concepts and attitudes necessary to serve effectively in diverse communities locally and globally.

Relevant FTS Learning Outcomes

1.       Graduates will be aware of and critically engage ecclesial, societal, and global issues from Christian theological perspectives and demonstrate the ability to make informed choices toward positive change.

2.       Graduates will demonstrate the ability to identify critical issues of diversity and make appropriate responses.

3.       Graduates will be able to pursue careers consistent with their education.



This 4 unit course will meet once per week (3 hours), on Wed. from 7-10 PM for ten weeks during the Spring quarter.  The class will combine lecture, readings, case study analysis, group role plays, and discussion.



Hargrave, T.D.  & Pfitzer, F.  (2003).  The new contextual therapy: Guiding the power of give and take.  New York: Brunner/Routledge. ISBN:  0415934370.  $33.88.

Madsen, W. (2007). Collaborative Therapy With Multi-Stressed Families. (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press. ISBN: 978-1-59385-434-8. $30.76

McGoldrick, M., Gerson, R., & Petry, S.  (2008).  Genograms: Assessment and intervention (3rd ed.).  New York: Norton. ISBN:  0393705099.  $21.06.

Minuchin, S.  & Fishman, H.C.  (1981).  Family Therapy Techniques.   Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN:  0674294106.  $33.09.



Blume, T.  W.  (2006).  Becoming a family counselor.  New York: Wiley. ISBN:  0471221384$87.50.

Breunlin, Douglas C., Schwartz C., & MacKune-Karrer, B.  (2001).  Metaframeworks:  Transcending the Models of Family Therapy.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. ISBN:  0787910708.  $46.47.

Boss, P.  (Ed.).  (2002).  Family stress: Classic and contemporary readings.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN:  0761926127.  $63.19.

Datillio, F.  M.  (Ed.).  (1998).  Case studies in couple and family therapy: Systemic and cognitive perspectives.  New York: Guilford.  ISBN:  1572306963.  $32.40.

Erdman, P., & Caffery, T.  (Eds.).  (2003).  Attachment and family systems.  New York: Brunner-Routledge. ISBN:  1583913513.  $50.00.

Freedman, J., & Combs, G.  (1996).  Narrative therapy: The social construction of preferred realities.  New York: Norton. ISBN:  0393702073.  $35.49.

Gilbert, R.  M.  (2006).  The eight concepts of Bowen theory.  Falls Church, VA: Leading Systems Press. ISBN:  097634551X.  $12.50.

Johnson, S.  (2008).  Hold me tight: Seven conversations for a lifetime of love.  New York: Little, Brown. ISBN:  031611300X.  $17.15.

Kerr, M.E.  & Bowen, M.  (1988).  Family evaluation: An approach based on Bowen theory.  New York: Norton. ISBN:  0393700569.  $36.19.

Monica McGoldrick, et al.  (2005).  Ethnicity and family therapy.  (3rd ed.).  New York: Guilford. ISBN:  1593850204.  $58.29.

Nichols, M.  P., & Schwartz, R.  C.  (2009).  Family therapy: Concepts and methods.  (9th ed.).  Boston: Allyn & Bacon. ISBN:  0205768938.  $88.56.

Walsh, F.  (2006).  Strengthening family resilience (2nd ed.).  New York: Guilford. ISBN:  1593851863.  $38.88.



Buechner, Frederick (1991).  Telling secrets: A memoir.  New York: Harper Collins. ISBN: 0060609362.  $11.19.

Griffith, J.L. & M.E.  (2002).  Encountering the sacred in psychotherapy: How to talk with people about their spiritual lives.  New York: Guilford. ISBN:  1572309385.  $35.00.

Walsh, F.  (Ed) (2009).  Spiritual resources in family therapy (2nd Ed.).  New York: Guilford. ISBN:  1606239082.  $30.00.



Completion of required reading, completion of case study assessment & treatment plans, a group presentation, and participation in class discussions & role-plays will determine the grade.



FS500 and enrollment in the MSMFT degree program.



1.       Meets BPC Sections 4980.36(c)(1)(B); 4980.36(d)(1)(A); 4980.36(d)(2)(A); 4980.36(e) for the State of CA.

2.       Meets AAMFT core competency domains 2.2; 3.1; 4.1; 4.2.