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Goldenberg, I. Goldenberg, H. (1975). A Family Approach to Psychological Services. Am. J. Psychoanal., 35(4):317-328.

(1975). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 35(4):317-328

A Family Approach to Psychological Services

Irene Goldenberg, ED.D. and Herbert Goldenberg, Ph.D.

Current thinking among some members of the psychological care-giving disciplines reflects dissatisfaction with traditional one-to-one forms of psychotherapy. Not only has individual psychotherapy been criticized as costly, lengthy, and not always effective, but it has been unavailable for large numbers of potential consumers. The current search for new ways of delivering psychological services (along with other health-related or human services), in order to reach a wider population in more appropriate ways, has opened up the possibility for expanding beyond traditional practices. Not only have new delivery systems been explored but also new insights have been developed regarding possible factors involved in the origin of psychologically disordered behavior. One such insight is that an individual's failure to cope with stress, either because that external stress is too great or persistent or because his or her internal adaptive resources are (perhaps temporarily) inadequate to the task, frequently can be traced to factors that operate currently in his or her family situation. Family therapy, then, becomes a vehicle for offering services to a whole system in need of repair.

Family therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach aimed at helping the family, as a functioning system, to interact in more constructive and mutually facilitating ways. More an orientation to viewing human problems in their context than representative of any single set of theoretical formulations, family therapy directs the family's attention to faulty, destructive, or pathological modes of family communication and interpersonal transactions for the purpose of changing the family system.

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