The use of structural family therapy and ecological systems theory with families experiencing violence

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Bimm, Valerie Charlotte
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This practicum consisted of the application of structural family therapy and ecological family systems theory to families who had been affected by violence in the form of child abuse or domestic violence. Structural family therapy as a model, places primary importance on the structure of relationships within a family, and between the family and its larger environment. The setting for the practicum was the Elizabeth Hill Counselling Center. A total of 12 families were seen during the practicum and in some cases family members were seen individually. During the intervention, primary consideration was given to the safety of family members. A thorough assessment occurred prior to the intervention to determine a family's suitability for therapy. Several themes emerged during the practicum experience which included the existence of alcohol and violence in families, and the unique issues of violence in multiproblem families. Resistance to therapy was another issue which emerged in various forms. Another theme which was addressed were the ethical issues present in working with families affected by violence.