Analyzing Contextual Family Theory

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Contextual Family Theory

Model Summary

Following are the foremost suppositions for change in the contextual methodology

Morals and principles are conveyed and transmitted across generations.

All dimensions are tangled and motivate people's relationships and behavioral patterns.

Evidence -- facts like genetic information, physical attributes, ethnic upbringing, fundamental histories, personal events and cycle of life.

Specific psychology: The sphere of most distinct psychotherapies and their effects.

Systemic dealings: The essentials of the traditional systemic family therapy sphere which covers configurations, rules, control, orientations, connections, reactions, etc.

Interpersonal consciences: These usually entail the "justice system" or ethical setup that particularly deals with roles, responsibilities, connectedness, caring, reciprocity, devotion, heritage, culpability, equality, and trust within tight knit relationships (mft2011, 2011).

Relational ethics rely a great deal on the level of trust involved in the relationship. If the involved are not trusting or trustworthy, obligations and claims to emotions and time tend to pile up. The emotional ledger of every person needs to be clear and accounted for, without discrepancies and dues. Any arrears are damaging to one's personal self, their relationships and future generations.

Reasoning: any individual's cognitive thinking and ability goes a long way in keeping the person alert to their responsibilities and rights.

Behavior oriented: Many individuals are action oriented and tend to be spontaneous and but their actions have urgency and lack reasoning which is why it better this mode of reaction evolves or changes.

The key approaches of the contextual methodology

• Loyalty: allegiance offered on the basis of fairness between parents.

• Privilege: A person's worth based on their level of trustworthiness.

• Ledger: A psychological bookkeeping setup that digs up dues and arrears from the past and speaks of what is owed and what has been provided. This data is maintained across generations!

• Heritage: behavioral patterns are not entirely free of a legacy influence. Quite like physical traits and genetic material, these too are transferred from one generation to another in the form of habits and expectations.

• Relational ethics refers to interpersonal social responsibilities and duties that are often specific to (but not limited to) close relationships.

• Negative privilege refers to acting and neglect of others based on how an individual was treated themselves.

• Revolving slate

• Future generations: this perhaps the only psychological model that factors in the upcoming generations.

• Efforts are split across two categories; rejunctive and disjunctive.

How is the contextual Family Theory different from other MFT methodologies?

The main purpose of the Contextual family therapy is to address broader issues whether the problems are to be dealt with on a personal or family level. Contextual approach is aimed at making essential changes to the way relationships are perceived to achieve better balance and learn to appreciate and acknowledge each other and their efforts. This theory is all about acknowledgement of one another, their pain and issues. The therapist promotes and facilitates this process by nudging all parties towards realization, positivity and contribution towards their relationships. What needs to be understood here is that the facilitation is just that, it is not the job of the therapist to hand hold or guide patients towards their end goal. Immediately from the start of therapy, the aim of the therapist would be to assure a sense of acknowledgement and praise is established. The therapist will praise and eventually this praising will act as a positive catalyst for the better appreciation and understanding of the people involved. If they learn to take and give credit the pathology of the group or individual will be quaintly addressed by optimizing resources and focusing on potential growth.

A crucial aspect; one that really sets this approach apart from the many others is that it provides setup where multiple concepts, varying techniques and models of individuals and family therapy are brought together. Improvement, functioning, and therapy are all focused when utilizing the contextual approach. According to contextual therapy the personal and interpersonal relationship matrix requires a degree of intervention is required to have an effect and benefit the parties engaged in therapy. What it does is increase the threshold of the patients to absorb more and achieve greater balance in their relationships. This theory does not limit itself to any specific techniques, all it requires is a constant endorsement of positivity and looks to include all involved instead of isolating the problem (Boszormenyi-Nagy, Grunebaum, & Ulrich, 1991). Due to its collective approach it has been regarded in the past as "family therapy." But, this is a loose definition at best and does not cover the actual scope of this theory, the term integrative therapy would be more appropriate.

The ultimate defining aim is to help patients become more sympathetic and attentive in their relationships and give those closest to them acknowledgement, understanding and positivity. Another aim is to become more open to dialogue and spontaneity (Goldenthal, 2005).

What makes Contextual Theory a systems-oriented methodology for Therapy

Systems psychology utilizes multifaceted structures to study behavioral patterns and patient capability. This integrated methodology towards therapy finds its roots in the techniques of the following people:

1) Gregory Bateson

2) Roger Barker

3) Ludwig Bertalanffy

4) Anatol Rapoport

5) Kenneth Boulding

6) William Ashby

7) Margaret Mead.

Why is a systems approach ideal, because it recognizes people whether individuals or groups as seekers of homeostasis. "Contextual family theory" makes reaching this state of balance a lot easier because it is offering valuable insight to each member rather than just the therapist. This systems-based tactic targets the individual weaknesses of a family matrix to improve the health of the whole family unit.

As a counseling mechanism Systems Therapy approaches are excellent for catering to larger groups, couples, families, communities and even large organizations. It works because it pinpoints behavior patterns rather and how they respond to various stimuli. This dynamic improves participation, involvement and promotes productive actions. (GoodTherapy, 2015).

Emotional Heritage

Emotional behaviors and patterns are transferred across generations no differently than genes or physiological traits. Sadly, for many, a negative emotional legacy is the stunt to their emotional development and growth. A negative scope will make life harder and day-to-day struggles are not easy. For a child to reach their full potential, it is important to achieve emotional stability as well. A great mind can go to waste under the wrong stressors.

A good emotional legacy has the following features

A safe haven for the development of a child

There is room for deep emotions to take root.

Confidence and good actions are supported and rewarded

A strong environment of trust

Cultivation of a positive identity.

Display of unconditional love.

These features are always passed down and it is here that a child picks up his/her emotional legacy. Building the right kind of environment is the first proactive step towards establishing a good surrounding that prevents a negative legacy from ever spreading.

The Social heritage

For good growth and a balanced life children require not just a positive emotional bank, they also require the right skill set help them interact and succeed in the world. To create healthy relationships children, require an insight into social workings of this world. It is important that an individual knows themselves and all those that are part of their lives, this includes family, coworkers, employers and any person there is an interaction with on a regular or semi-regular basis. For children to mature and appreciate care, support and understanding it is important that such a fabric is provided from home as a part of their social legacy.

The Spiritual Heritage

Passing faith to children can reinforce the unseen realities of god. A spiritual legacy does not entail sending children to Church, catholic school, or making them attend Sunday mass, spiritual heritage is so much more than just acts of devotion. Younger children's perception god and their parents, is not all that different. They are open to ideas and they will consider god as an entity that loves them unconditionally just like their parents. It is important to allow your child to explore faith freely rather than confining faith to a series of acts that can lose meaning. The right ideas can stick forever, so faith is a delicate matter, it can either be a cause of bitterness and despair or that of hope and understanding. It all depends on how parents introduce faith to their children (Ledbetter & Bruner, 1996).

Transmission of family cultures and Ethnic Realities

In a family matrix, children and parents have diverse opinions, beliefs and understanding of the familial structure. While parents are anxious about the survival of their name and value they have deemed important in life. Children on the other hand, focus on the transformations and differences between two generations' and their value structure. Children are always trying to break free from their parents and set their own ethnic realities. Mothers are far more vested in the family structure and fabric. Being primary caregivers women are always more desiring of a relationship with their children, especially in…

Sources Used in Document:


Boszormenyi-Nagy, I., Grunebaum, J., & Ulrich, D. (1991). Contextual therapy. In A. S. Gurman, & D. P. Kniskern (Eds.), Handbook of family therapy (Vol. II, pp. 200-238). Bristol: Brunner/Mazel.

Fitzgerald, P. (2009, Setptember 28). Invisible Loyalties: Life-Giving 0r Life-Taking? Retrieved from The Bridgemaker:

Goldenthal, P. (2005). Helping children and families: A new treatment model integrating psychodynamic, behavioral, and contextual approaches. Wiley.

GoodTherapy. (2015, July 30). Systems Theory / Therapy. Retrieved from

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