School for Social Work
Family psychotherapy, Family social work, Psychotherapist and patient, Parents-Psychology, Blame, Narcissism, Family therapy, Parental narcissism, Resistance (Psychoanalysis), Blaming, Parents in therapy
This research was designed to address the question: "How do family therapists respond to monopolizing, blaming, critical and unempathic behavior from parents in family therapy. I was interested to see if they viewed the presentation as resistance, narcissism, or was it attributed to something else? I was also interested in the therapist's background, theoretical framework, training, and how they viewed family interventions. I hypothesized that family therapists would respond to monopolizing, blaming, critical and unempathic behavior in parents in a way that was influenced more by clinical practice experience than theoretical orientation. The instrument was a survey with closed and open-ended questions developed by the researcher. Nineteen clinicians that met my criteria for being a family therapist completed the survey. Nearly half (44%) of the clinicians had more than twenty years of family therapy experience. A significant finding was that family clinicians were influenced by several theories, but tended to adhere most to one particular theoretical framework. There was a significant difference in mean age (t(8)=3.326, p=.01), between those who viewed this behavior as narcissism (m=44.5) and those that did not (m=59.5). Clinicians that avoided labeling this behavior were older, more experienced and possibly "truer" family therapists. There was also a plethora of creative approaches found that diverted from theory. The study revealed the decrease in family therapy training in current social work programs and a cautionary statement of letting H.M.O's "cost-effective" goals affect family therapy education, training, and research in social work schools.
Sussman, Andrew David, "Family therapists' responses to monopolizing, blaming, critical and unempathic behavior in parents" (2009). Masters Thesis, Smith College, Northampton, MA.