Structural family therapy was originally developed by Salvador Minuchin and has 3 essential components. These include Structure, Subsystems and Boundaries.
When looking at Structure, therapists tend to look at the organized pattern of the family members in order to help and understand family patterns. Commonly, these patterns are repeated and by understanding structure one can decide what needs to be done in order to help modify or improve the relational patterns.
Commonly, by changing the underlying structure it tends to cause a ripple effect on family transactions. Additionally, since all families have some form of hierarchical structure, each having different amounts of authority, the transactional patterns need to be analyzed as well.
When exploring this even further, families can then be looked at through different subsystems, which commonly can be done by looking at the groupings of either the parents or the children or how the family relational bond displays itself. Commonly every family member will also play different roles in different subgroups within the structure and one of the important things is to help explore interpersonal boundaries within these subsystems to help protect the different subsystems while still being healthy.
Some common terms used within Structural family therapy include looking at boundaries, the concept of Disengagement, which involves decreased levels of contact or Enmeshment, which occurs when there is a heightened sense of mutual support, but at the cost of losing one’s independence and autonomy.
Ultimately, family systems need to learn to accommodate to the needs of the other individuals in a healthy system without losing themselves. This commonly involves setting clear boundaries and reestablishing appropriate hierarchical structures which are commonly disrupted by over child centred relationships.
Sturctural Therapy with Insight