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INSTRUCTIONS FOR FINAL FAMILY ASSIGNMENT 231A - Fall 2011 The final paper for this class involves

work with a couple or family you know well enough to complete the assignment (throughout this prompt the term family is meant in the broadest context to mean couples, nuclear family, family of origin, extended family, in-laws, and those living together who define themselves as a couple or family regardless of legalization of the union or family group). You are to select: - an experience or situation from any aspect of your family of origin, or from your combined family of origins if you include your significant other; or, -an experience or situation from a couple or family you have worked with in your internship.* You will then develop at least a three generation genogram, a family assessment of the family as it is defined in terms of the specific situation you are considering, and the application of one or more models of family therapy to this situation with the family as a means of understanding and working with the strengths and vulnerabilities that comprise the experience.** If you have questions or concerns with the focus of this paper, please consult with your instructor. A part of this paper is to explore, identify and understand your experience of family life and how it affects your social work practice with families. If you are writing about your own family of origin or an extended family member, then your own response to the situation you pick will inherently be part of the paper in the family assessment and the applied model sections of the paper. If you do not choose this option, and write instead about a family you have worked with, you need to address the impact of your own family experience on your work with the family you choose to write about. An exploration of ones own family history and family dynamics are vital assets in the development of selfawareness, enhanced clinical skills, and professional growth. This is particularly true when it comes to clinical practice with couples and families. As you prepare to write this paper remember the issue you focus on can be your own or the families concrete problem, a life transition, a goal that has been a bit difficult to achieve, or something that is being anticipated in the near future, such as, transitioning from the role of student to more independent professional and the impact this role transition may have on your family life. The problem or goal may be as serious or as minor as you like. However, for you to get the most out of this assignment, the problem should be an actual issue you or the family have experienced or one that is being dealt with in some form in the present context. If you decide that it will be more valuable to write about a problem from the past, you may do so, but you must connect it to the here and now. In other words, discuss how the issue informs current interactions in your own or the familys life. Remember, even a family member who is no longer alive can have an impact on the family roles, rules, triangles, myths, etc. and have an impact on the remaining family members and upon you.

The paper, typed and double spaced, should be approximately 16-18 pages.** This would not include the genogram, the bullet point descriptions of key family members that goes with it (it is often easier to write some things about each central character on a separate list than to squeeze it into the genogram drawing), and, the eco-map or other means of illustrating the familys relationship to the larger cultural, social, and economic context. Your instructor will regard this assignment as privileged communication. Your completed paper should be submitted directly on the CCLE site or in a sealed envelope to protect your privacy. Your paper will be read, graded, and returned to you in a confidential manner. The assessment should be in narrative form, structured to address the topics in the following outline that are relevant to your family situation. The portion of the paper devoted to a model or integration of models of couples or family work you will use to understand and work with your family situation should be at least 1/3 of the paper. It often is easiest to write this paper in the first person, however, that is your call. http://www.genopro.com/ is a genogram program, you can use for free as a student.

OUTLINE GUIDE FOR FAMILY ASSESSMENT The following outline is meant to serve as a guide. Your identified problem may require differential emphasis on some things over others.
Part A: Construct a genogram of at least 3 generations including: A. Family members (be sure to designate which of the family members live together) names, gender, birth dates (or ages), relationships, marriage dates, education, occupations, deaths (causes), chronic conditions (e.g., alcoholism, mental retardation), significant trauma (e.g., street violence, war, rape or other abuse, incarceration), anything significant to describing individuals. Other data that may be significant: adoptions, miscarriages, pregnancies, separations, current locations, etc. In this section, you will place some information on the genogram itself, however, it often works best if you actually list bullet points on a separate sheet of the important historical info for key family members.


Part B: I. Presenting Problems/Goal A. Reason for requesting social work intervention1) Describe the nature of the problem. 2) When was the problem/goal recognized? 3) Why are you or the family seeking help at this point in time? 4) What are the precipitating factors? 5) Pervasiveness or how does situation limits or restricts individual? 6) How do various members perceive and react to problems? Effect of problem/need on individual and others1) How is the situation a problem or stressor for each person? 2) How does each person understand the problem or stressful demand? 3) How is the family different as a result of the problem or life stress? 4) What implications does the problem/need have for the future of the family? 5) What is the family belief system about seeking help outside the family? 6) How were problems or transitions handled in the past? What has the family done to resolve such issues in the past? And, what is the family doing currently? Expectations about change1) What do family members believe should be done next? 2) What are their beliefs about what will happen if nothing is done? 3) How do their beliefs about outside intervention effect these predictions?



II. Family System A. Structure, boundaries, roles and relationships1) What are the formal roles in this family (for father, mother, grandmother, etc.)? 2) What are the informal roles in this family (e.g., caretakers, mediators, rescuers, healers, historians, black sheep, etc.)? 3) How satisfied are individuals with their roles? Who feels stressed or overloaded? 4) How have roles changed in recent years? Do people find the family flexible when needed? 5) Describe the attachment relationships in the family in terms of security and insecurity? What happens when attachments are challenged, interrupted, or broken? 6) Do individuals feel that others are available for support when needed? Are people reliable?

7) 8) 9) 10) 11) B.

How are family loyalties and alliances formed and maintained? Have there been major changes over time? What triangles exist under what circumstances are they likely to form? Are there cutoffs among family members? If so, what are the effects? Who holds the power in the family? How is this expressed? How does this affect family decisions? Describe how boundaries operate within the family and between the family and those outside of the family.

Communication1) What are the major channels of communication in the family? Who speaks to whom and about what? 2) What are the taboos? What is not mentioned? 3) What is the family style of communication, both verbally and nonverbally? 4) Do family members express thoughts and feelings openly? When do they feel constrained? Include in this discussion something about how anger, caring, and humor are expressed and tolerated? 5) How is affect regulated in the family? How is it expressed, contained, challenged? What is the nature of the emotional responsiveness between and amongst family members? Family through time1) Relate the problem to the current developmental stages of the individuals and the family. 2) What significant history about the current family helps or hinders problem resolution or goal attainment? 3) What are the links between the current problem/need/goal and patterns from the past? 4) What intergenerational patterns or relationships are significant to the problem?


III. Environmental factors and transactions with larger systems 1) Construct an eco-map, outline, or narrate in some way the familys connection to the larger cultural and social context of their lives. (this can be done as an eco-map, as a diagram you find useful, or in narrative whatever works best for you) 2) Is the family open to contact with larger systems? What are the sources of strain and support with other systems? 3) Are there resources that could be activated to help the current problem? What supports and resources are currently being used? What supports need to be found?

4) Has the family changed over time in its relation to the outside world? _______________________________________________________________________ _

Part C. In this section you are to discuss how the above assessment would be used in guiding the process of intervention with the family. Select a model of couple or family therapy, or, models if you are integrating your approach to understanding and treatment. The model or models should be the ones you find most useful to intervention around the presenting problem (e.g., structural, strategic, Bowenian, intergenerational, experiential, behavioral, psychoanalytic family therapy, object relations or self psychology, narrative, solution focused, attachment focused, emotionally focused, etc). Explain how this family practice model or models would engage, understand, intervene, and facilitate change with the family around the problem in terms of: ** How the family dysfunction is described; Adaptive family functioning and development; Treatment alliance and planning; Specific treatment goals; Focus of family intervention; Conditions necessary for change; Treatment strategies and techniques; Role of the therapist;

You may find that the family issue could benefit from an integrated approach, in other words, one or more models might be a primary way of thinking about the family issue and interventions may come from several models including but not limited to those you use to understand the family. If so, you need to articulate the model(s) chosen and the reasons. This section (Part C) should represent at least 1/3 of your paper, approximately 6 pages of the narrative text.