Compare Structural Family Therapy to Strategic Family Therapy Essay

Posted: November 7th, 2022

Compare Structural Family Therapy to Strategic Family Therapy Essay

This is for a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner class – This is a link to the site the assignment references. The assignment is as follows: In a 2- to 3-page paper, address the following: Summarize the key points of both structural family therapy and strategic family therapy. Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy, noting the strengths and weaknesses of each. Provide an example of a family in your practicum using a structural family map. Note: Be sure to maintain HIPAA regulations. Recommend a specific therapy for the family, and justify your choice using the Learning Resources. The family can be a fictional family coming in for family therapy. Let’s sa a father, mother, and teenage boy with defiant disorder. Compare Structural Family Therapy to Strategic Family Therapy Essay

Structural versus Strategic Family Therapies


Families are social units that are composed of two or more persons. The nature of this plurality creates opportunities for conflicts. That is because no two people would have identical characters and personalities. To address these conflicts, there is a need to apply strategies that engage the conflicting family members rather than individuals. It is these peculiarities that identify families as unique units, with the psychosocial solutions applied to address their problems similarly different from those applied to address the needs of individual clients (Welfel, 2013). The present paper acknowledges the unique nature of families and discusses the similarities and differences that exist between structural and strategic therapies with respect to their use in addressing the psychological needs of families. Compare Structural Family Therapy to Strategic Family Therapy Essay


Structural and strategic therapies are two distinctive tools applied in addressing the psychological needs of families. The two therapies share some similarities while dissimilarities differentiate them. Concerning similarities, five stand out. The first similarity is that they both apply systematic methodologies that begin with identifying the problem and its source, before developing and applying a solution that engages the whole family so that there are no opportunities for similar problems to crop up in future. This means that whether the problem is identified with a single family member or the whole family, treatment would be directed at the whole family with a view to improving integration (Sadock, B., Sadock, V. & Ruiz, 2014). The second similarity is that the two therapies are focused on families and not individuals or other social groups. This implies that they are designed to identify and solve social problems in families and would not be useful for individual or other social groups. The third similarity is that they two therapies assume that all social problems in the family have a structural source. That is to say that the family structure is responsible for the social problems, particularly the family dynamics whereby those with more power and authority would use them wrongly to cause the problems whether intentionally or unintentionally. The fourth similarity is that the two therapies assume that all social problems in the family have a circular causality so that even when one person causes a problem, the other family members would be drawn into that problem through association and interactions. The final similarity is that the two therapies rely on family mapping to explore the family structures and existing problems in terms of hierarchies, powers, roles and responsibilities (Thompson, 2016). Compare Structural Family Therapy to Strategic Family Therapy Essay


Although the two therapies share the five similarities as discussed, there are two differences that make each therapy unique. The first difference is that they each apply different methodologies. Structural therapy offers a solution through revising the family system while strategic therapy offers a solution through alternating the relationship between family members. The second differences come from the role played by the therapist. A structural therapist adopts a versatile role during treatment, and can change the role when the situation demands with a focus on directing the family members to develop a personalized solution to solve the existing problem. On the other hand, a strategic therapist presents a solution after analyzing the problem and directs the family in implementing the solution while evaluating their progress (Bitter, 2014). In this respect, structural and family therapies share five similarities and two differences. Compare Structural Family Therapy to Strategic Family Therapy Essay 

Example of a family using a structural family map and recommended therapy




A Christian nuclear family with three members who are all alive. The father is an alcohol who has problems at work. He has been repeatedly warned for letting his drunkenness interfere with his work, and has even been passed on for promotion owing to this. He blames his wife for his woes since they were forced to get married after she got pregnant. The wife is a home maker and suffers from depression. She feels that despite everything that she does to improve her husband’s opinion of her, she has been unsuccessful. She is aware that he despises her but does not know of how to improve their relationship. The child is 18 months old. Currently, there is tension in the house and the husband has threatened to divorce his wife for ruining his life.Compare Structural Family Therapy to Strategic Family Therapy Essay


The family has a strained relationship and is unlikely to remain as a family should the situation continued. It would be prudent to apply strategic therapy to address the problem and improve the relationship between the family members. This would entail a therapist presenting a solution that focuses on improving the relationship between the husband and wife. In addition, the therapist would address the husband’s alcoholism as well as the wife’s depression. Once the therapist has developed a solution, the family would be directed on how to apply that solution while being monitored for progress and need for changes in the solution (Bitter, 2014). For instance, the couple can be encouraged to have better communication with the husband encouraged to seek constructive strategies for improving his situation rather than blaming his wife.


One must accept that structural and strategic therapies are tools used in addressing the psychological needs of families as social units. In addition, one must acknowledge that the two therapies share similarities and differences that determine the best situation in which to apply each type of therapy. In this respect, the two therapies represent opportunities for improving the relationship and interactions between family members.Compare Structural Family Therapy to Strategic Family Therapy Essay


Bitter, J. (2014). Theory and practice of family therapy and counseling (2nded.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2014). Kaplan &Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry: behavioral sciences/clinical psychiatry (11thed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.

Thompson, R. (2016). Counseling techniques: improving relationships with others, ourselves, our families, and our environments (3rded.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Welfel, E. (2013). Ethics in counseling & psychotherapy(5thed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. Compare Structural Family Therapy to Strategic Family Therapy Essay

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