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Family Therapy: Julia’s Case Study


The case at hand features a young woman, Julia, who has moved from Detroit to Los Angeles and has been facing challenges in interacting with her family. Having accepted the role of a mediator between her parents and siblings, as well as the guardian of her brother, Julia has been emotionally exhausted and in need have change. Given the fact that her family refuses to discuss relationship issues openly, Julia currently has no opportunity to express her feelings, which has been a source of constant tension and strain.

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Evaluating the Case

Family Assessment: Haley’s Theory

Using Haley’s Strategic Family Therapy (SFT) approach will help to recognize the necessity for the family members to communicate their feelings and ideas openly to each other. Implying an immediate intervention and suggesting that a specific family issue should be handled promptly, Hailey’s approach offers a brief yet effective intervention. Based on the tenets of the specified theoretical approach, critical factors must be introduced into the family to prompt interactions so that its members could manage the conflict properly (Miller & Seedall, 2017). For instance, the SFT framework could be used to build an intervention for reducing the extent of confrontation between the parents and the siblings, encouraging the former to accept a part of responsibility for the brother, and offer Julia support in her academic and career struggles.

Family Assessment: Minuchin’s Theory

In turn, applying Minuchin’s structural family therapy will entail a less fragmented and more cohesive framework for managing the observed situation. Since Minuchin’s approach suggests disrupting unhealthy patterns and changing the family functioning, the problem can be approached by changing the framework of relationships between the key participants (Miller & Seedall, 2017). For instance, the fact that the parental roles are mostly imposed on Julia needs to be mentioned as the key pattern that serves as the source of unhealthy interactions and needs to be altered. Namely, actual parents must accept the appropriate role, sharing the responsibilities for caring for David, while supporting Julia in the difficulties that she has been facing.

Proposed Therapeutic Strategy

Haley’s Theory

Haley’s perspective will help to introduce effective tools for conflict management to Julia for approaching singular cases of confrontations within the family. Therefore, tracking and diagnosing, as well as restructuring, should become the main strategies based on Haley’s model when addressing Julia’s case (Miller & Seedall, 2017). Particularly, the issue of conflict management should be redefined to prioritize problem-solving and reaching an agreement as opposed to increasing the tension between the participants and prevent their further antagonizing of each other from happening.

Minuchin’s Theory

Minuchin’s theory will be quite helpful in the case at hand in disrupting the patterns of behavior that have led to unhealthy relationships within the family. Specifically, an intervention involving restructuring, reframing, and boundary-making will be required (Miller & Seedall, 2017). In the course of the sessions, Julia and her family members will learn to appreciate each other’s contribution to the family and accept appropriate roles, thus relieving Julia of a significant part of her current burden. Namely, the parents will have to acknowledge the importance of supporting David, as well as changing their approach toward conflict management in relation to their interactions with Julia’s siblings. Thus, the tension within the specified environment will be relieved significantly. In addition, Julia will have to learn to refuse some of the roles that others, including her family members, impose on her.

Sociocultural Attunement

Finally, to ensure that a comfortable environment is created for Julia to discuss And change her relationships with her family, tools for sociocultural attunement must be introduced. Specifically, the fact that Julia has moved from Detroit to Los Angeles signifies that she may be experiencing difficulties adjusting to the Los Angeles setting and culture. Therefore, an appropriate technique for helping Julia to trust the therapist and be eager to change the situation will have to be used. Namely, the therapist will need to explore the sociocultural issues that the client has been facing, including difficulties in communication given the tremendous increase in sociocultural diversity, will have to be explored.


Miller, R. B., & Seedall, R. B. (2017). The handbook of systemic family therapy: The profession of systemic family therapy. John Wiley & Sons.

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