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by Peter Goldenthal
by Peter Goldenthal

Contextual Family Therapy: Assessment and Intervention Procedures

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  • 1993  82pp paperbound   ISBN: 9780943158792
  • A Practitioner's Resource Series Title
In his foreword Dr. Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy writes "...the rich illustrative/clinical materials of this book provide a very useful contribution to the literature.  It is a helpful reading even for the reader who is familiar with the basic texts of the approach...  [Dr. Goldenthal] has been able to grasp and distinguish the ethical dimension of relationship as a key therapeutic factor.  The illustrations from his practice will help the reader to see how many contextual principles may be applied in working with families in general and with children in particular."

This unique and powerful integrative approach to the treatment of individuals, couples, and families brings together individual psychodynamic thinking and family systems formulations and concepts.  This book will help clinicians ask appropriate questions about fairness in family relationships.  Vignettes illustrating clinical interventions are included.  The flavor and richness of the complex and innovative approach developed by Boszormenyi-Nagy and his colleagues is ably captured by the author.  A truly unique and timeless title.

Review

"This practical guide to a complex and sophisticated therapeutic method is clear, straightforward, and not oversimplified.  The author, an experienced psychologist and family therapist, understands and appreciates the depth dimensions of contextual therapy, and has been able to explicate and elaborate the major procedural steps of assessment, treatment, and termination.  Several clinical vignettes vividly demonstrate how the therapist intervenes - the 'how to do it' of contextual therapy, especially with families of young children and adolescents."
     -Judith Grunebaum, LICSW,
Executive Committee and Faculty, Couple and Family Center, Cambridge Hospital, Department of Psychiatry; Lecturer on Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Table of Contents
BACKGROUND
FOUR-DIMENSIONAL FRAMEWORK
    The Existential Dimension
    The Psychological Dimension
    The Dimension of Transactions and Power
    The Dimension of Fairness in Balancing Give and Take in Relationships
    Distinctions Between Fairness and Other Dimensions
BASIC CONCEPTS OF FAIRNESS IN RELATIONSHIPS
    The Right to Give
        Joey: A Child's Right to Give to a "Abusive" Mother (Vignette #1)
    An Intergenerational Perspective
    Loyalty
        Sheila and Robbie: Two Case Illustrations of Split Loyalty
    Destructive Parentification
    Therapeutic Leverage
    Constructive Entitlement
    Destructive Entitlement
    Reliance on Constructive Versus Destructive Entitlement
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF CONTEXTUAL ASSESSMENT AND INTERVENTION
    How Assessment Issues Blend into Treatment Issues
    Multidirected Partiality
    Structuring Techniques
    Some Practical Issues
        Session Attendance and Participation
        Privacy
        Responses to Emergencies
        Custody Evaluations
CONTEXTUAL ASSESSMENT
    Sequence of Steps in Assessment
    Assessing Psychological Factors
    Assessing Individual and Family History
    Assessing Family Transactions
        Paul: A Scapegoated Child
    Assessing Fairness Issues
    Assessment of Injustice, Destructive Entitlement, and Parentification
        Eunice: A Case of Injustice as the Result of Chronic Illness (Vignette #1)
        Ricky: A Father's Destructive Entitlement Arising from a Serious Medical Condition (Vignette #1)
        Sally: Parentification as the Result of a Parent's Reliance on Destructive Entitlement
        Debbie: Injustice Leading to Reliance on Destructive Entitlement and Parentification (Vignette #2)
        Mr. S: Parentification and Invisible Loyalty
INTERVENTION PROCEDURES
    Assessing Fairness Issues Leads Directly to Intervention
        The M Family: Initial Session
    Anger and Disruptive Behaviors in Children
        The M Family: Later Sessions
        Roberta: Anger, Depression, and Substance Abuse in Adolescence
    Multidirected Partiality Versus Impartiality
        Kerry: Multidirected Partiality and Split Loyalty
        The A Family: Partiality to Divorced Parents
        The B Family: Multidirected Partiality in a Case of Parental Separation
        The C Family: Severe Marital Discord and Split Loyalty
    Uncovering Resources
    Acknowledgment
        Joseph: Acknowledgement of a Child's Giving to His Parent
        Kevin: Multidirected Partiality and Acknowledgment of a Child's Concern for an Ill Parent
        Bobby: Acknowledgment of Giving Between Siblings
        Albert: Acknowledgment of Caretaking Behavior
        Eunice: Acknowledgment of Unfairness (Vignette #2)
    Giving Room
        Jack: Giving Room in a Case of Subtle Parentification
    The Funnel: A Model for Timing Interventions
    Crediting
        Debbie: Crediting Injustice (Vignette #2)
        Ricky: Multidirected Partiality to a "Neglectful" Parent (Vignette #2)
    Lending Weight
    Exoneration
        Ms. H: Partiality to a Grandparent
    Helping Parents to Provide Their Children Opportunities to Give
SUMMARY
REFERENCES

About the Author
Peter Goldenthal, PhD, has conducted numerous professional training workshops, seminars, and continuing education programs focused on contextual treatment with couples, children, and families under the auspices of the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and other professional groups.  With over 14 years of experience as a family therapist, he is active in both the training and supervision of family therapists and serves as an approved supervisor for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.  Dr. Goldenthal received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Connecticut, interned at Worcester Youth Guidance Center, and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in psychology at Harvard Medical School.  He has also held academic appointments at Bryn Mawr College, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Delaware.  Dr. Goldenthal has earned Diplomates in both Clinical Psychology and Family Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).  He is licensed as a psychologist in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.  In addition to maintaining private practices in both King of Prussia, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware, he currently serves as Director of the Outpatient Unit and Family Study Center of The Terry Children's Psychiatric Center in New Castle, Delaware.

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