Power of Family: An Experiential Approach to Family Treatment

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by Maurie Lung, Gary Stauffer, Tony Alvarez and John Conway

Experiential therapists emphasize the feeling side of human nature: creativity, spontaneity, and the ability to play in therapy, as well as the value of experience for its own sake. We would stress that the intentional use of specifically designed interactive interventions with families offers the best of both worlds: an emphasis on each individual’s lived experience of being in the family along with a focus on structural and system issues that often dictate how each experience within a family is processed and perceived.

The authors invite you to explore the intentional use of interactive interventions as a primary methodology in family treatment. The activities they introduce into the therapy office provide an immediate context for witnessing how the family functions first-hand. In this manner, families reveal systems, structures, cognitive and emotional processes, strategies, communication styles, approaches to problem-solving, as well as other issues traditionally targeted in the process of family treatment. The intent is to provide an environment that allows family members to freely and genuinely demonstrate their strengths and limitations.