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Introduction to Family Counseling

Introduction to Family Counseling
A Case Study Approach

January 2016 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
“Engaging, Creative, and Practical” 
- Lakitta D. Johnson, Jackson State University  

Introduction to Family Counseling: A Case Study Approach presents basic knowledge about family counseling and applies various theoretical models to a case example looking at one nuclear family, along with its extended family members, that readers follow throughout the text.  Judy Esposito and Abbi Hattem’s multi-generational family is constructed from their experiences as professors and family therapists to exemplify the concepts and theories of family counseling.  Beyond the theories of family counseling, students learn about the family life cycle and various tools for assessing families as well as the history of family counseling.  Ethical issues relevant to family counseling are also included along with transcripts from hypothetical family counseling sessions throughout the book.  In addition, the book focuses on working with diverse families and takes special care to emphasize multicultural issues.
Part I: Introduction to the Family
Chapter 1: The Manning-Kelly Family
Cast List


Presenting Problem

History of the Presenting Problem

Social Support

Clinical Observations and Impressions

Preliminary Assessment

Theoretical Conceptualization


Chapter 2: Families and the Family Life Cycle
The Family Life Cycle


Chapter 3: Assessing Families Traditionally and Creatively
Traditional Assessment Methods

Lifestyle Questionnaire

Family Sculpting

Christina's Family Sculpture

Family Scripting

Family Play Therapy

Family Puppet Shows

Family Build-A-House

Family Aquarium

Family Play Genograms


Part II: Theories of Family Counseling
Chapter 4: The Family Systems Approach to Family Counseling
Origins of Family Counseling

Family Systems and Family Dynamics

Family Subsystems

Circular Causation and Feedback Loops

Homeostasis and Equilibrium

Family Rules

First and Second Order Change

Second Order Cybernetics

Function of the Presenting Problem in the Family

Family Resiliency

Systemic Assessment of the Manning-Kelly Family


Chapter 5: Multi-Generational Family Counseling
Emotional Fusion and Differentiation of Self


Nuclear Family Emotional Process

Family Projection Process


Multigenerational Transmissions

Family Roles

Sibling Position

Societal Emotional Process



Chapter 6: Structural Family Counseling
Structural Family Counseling Concepts

Structural Family Counseling

Using Structural Family Counseling with the Manning-Kelly Family

Summary and Conclusions

Chapter 7: Experiential Family Counseling
What is Experiential Counseling?

Experiencing the Emotional Layer of the Family

The Family System

Experiential Counseling Interventions

Virginia Satir's Family Growth Model

Using Experiential Counseling with the Manning-Kelly Family


Chapter 8: Other Approaches to Family Counseling

Adlerian Family Counseling

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy


Integrative Family Counseling


Part III: Other Aspects of Family Counseling
Chapter 9: Special Topics in Family Counseling
Multicultural Families

LGBTQIA Families

Single-Parent Families

Blended Families

Families with Aging Members

Families with Biomedical Conditions

Families Coping with Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders

Domestic Violence


Chapter 10: The Counselor's Experience Working with Families
The Power of Family Systems

How Families Induce Family Counselors

Managing Multiple Relationships

Comfort with Diversity

Experiencing the Family

Experiencing the Manning-Kelly and Jones Family

Self-Awareness, Self-Care, & Ethical Practice [+plan, bal own fam]

The School Counselor's Experience


Chapter 11: Ethics of Family Counseling

Protecting Clients

Reporting Laws

Law and Ethics



Scope of Practice

Ethical Decision-Making Model


Part IV: Current Trends in Family Counseling
Chapter 12: Family Issues Requiring Services Beyond Counseling
Cultural Competence Working with Multicultural Families


Single-Parent Families

Blended Families

Families with Aging Members

Families with Biomedical Conditions

Families Coping with Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Disorders

Domestic Violence


Chapter 13: Services Available to Families
Social Services

School Counselors and School Social Workers

In-Home Services

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Respite Care in Group Homes

Wilderness Therapy Programs and Camps

Employee Assistance Programs

Support for Military Families

Faith-Based Support Programs

Non-Profit Agencies

Referral Process

Chapter 14: What's Next for the Manning-Kelly Family?

Family Counseling

What's Next for the Manning-Kelly and Jones Family?

What's Next for the Individual Family Members?

Family Secrets


What's Next for You as a Family Counselor?



"Working with Families: A Case Study Approach offers a much needed approach to engaging students in the process of understanding and helping families. By using a multi-generational family case study, the authors open a window into working with families."

Garry M. Breland
William Carey University

“Engaging, Creative, and Practical”

Lakitta D. Johnson
Jackson State University

“You get a first-hand experience of being a family counselor as you undergo the experiential process of learning terms, skills, and concerns as you work with a family throughout this text.”

Drew Curtis
Angelo State University

“Students will enjoy learning family systems from this engaging and comprehensive text.”

Shannon Wolf
Dallas Baptist University

“[Working with Families: A Case Study Approach] is extremely thorough and provides many thought provoking exercise and activities that can be used in the classroom.”

Judith E. Beechler
Midwestern State University

I adopted this text for the case study format. It was well received by the students. One downfall is the lack of substantial theory in the text. However, that can be added by the instructor. Overall, a nice text.

Mrs Tamera L Hill
Master Science Mental Health Counseling, Viterbo University
October 14, 2021

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 6

Chapter 10

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781483351766

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