Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide

Family Therapy

Stuart Tiegel, MSW
Family Therapy is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide.

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  • Psychotherapy in our culture has largely been thought of as individual psychotherapy (IT).
  • IT is seen as "monadic" by nature, and family therapy (FT) is seen as "dyadic", "triadic", etc.
  • FT is not IT with more than one person in the therapy room but a different way of viewing human problems and psychiatric treatment.
    • The focus in FT involves shifting the treatment unit away from a unit of one to a more complex system of relationships involving couples, families and sometimes multiple families.
      • "There is no such thing as the individual, we are all pieces of a family." (Carl Whitaker, M.D., a pioneering psychiatrist in FT, American Orthopsychiatry Conference, 1979)
    • FT was driven by the need to treat more patients efficiently and in the context in which they lived their lives.
      • Leading to a paradigm shift in some areas of psychiatric treatment [1]

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Last updated: October 22, 2014