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Family therapy is a psychotherapeutic intervention in which individuals beyond the primary husband–wife dyad are involved—that is, parents, children, and even members of the extended family (broadly defined), if they share in or are part of the pathology. Major emphasis is placed on understanding how the system as a whole remains functional and on understanding individual behavior patterns as arising from and inevitably feeding back into the complex interactions within the family system. A person's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are seen as multiply determined and as partly a product of significant interpersonal relationships. Any psychotherapeutic approach that attempts to understand or to intervene in a family system might fittingly be called family therapy. Family therapy may be thought of as any type of psychosocial intervention using a conceptual framework that gives primary emphasis to the family system and aims to affect the entire family structure.

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FIGURE 34–1. Genogram.In the sample genogram shown, an overall family map has been constructed to graphically describe the identified patient, identify the other members of the family (including age, gender, and relationship to identified patient) and where they live, and highlight important and/or stressful family events (here, "divorce" of both parents).
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TABLE 34–1. Characteristics of functional families
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TABLE 34–2. Outline for family evaluation
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TABLE 34–3. Strategies for beginning family therapy
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TABLE 34–4. Mediating goals of family therapy
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TABLE 34–5. Final goals of family therapy
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TABLE 34–6. Strategies for attaining mediating goals of family therapy

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