Role of the Therapist in

Multiple Family Group Therapy

1995 by Lewis N. Foster


The Therapist:

1.  helps families discover their own power, identify what's preventing them from using their strengths, and helps them define what kind of family they want to be;

2.  invites the family to look honestly at their behavior and life-style (holds up a mirror) and make decisions about the ways in which they want to change;

3.  presents honest reactions (approval or disapproval) to the families, giving praise and setting limits;

4.  must be willing to use their personhood as an instrument of therapeutic change by openly sharing their struggles in relationships and allowing their own values to be challenged by the families in the MFTG;

5.  brings some structure to the MFTG, as needed, and focuses on the process while the families provide the content;

6.  realizes the importance of the influence of their behavior on the families in the MFTG and demonstrates being nonjudgmental, genuine caring, respectful, accepting and understanding;

7.  realizes that MFGT is not a science separate and distinct from the behavior and personality of the therapist;

8.  leads by following, and both the therapist and the families assume responsibility for the direction of MFGT;

9.  is alert to a family's attempt to manipulate others into assuming responsibility that they are capable of assuming, and the therapist supports their finding their own potentials;

10. creates ways for the multiple family group to direct themselves so that dependency is not fostered; work only as hard as they do;

11. avoids abstract intellectualization, labeling, interpretation, and excessive verbiage;

12. is tuned into his or her own qualities of tenderness, toughness, compassion, teaching, guiding, and role-modeling;

13. helps the families make the transition from external to internal support, and this is done by locating the impasse, which may be the avoidance of self or the avoidance of legitimate pain;

14. listens and learns when to make appropriate interventions so that the families do not feel that everything they say is subject to scrutiny;

15. helps the families set themselves free to love and work;

16. confronts irrational "should's," "ought's," and "must's;"

17. is able to get involved with families and to get them involved in the therapeutic process in the MFGT session;

18. takes care of his/her instrument (self) by fine-tuning, calibrating and cleaning the instrument after each use.

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