Education G568

Family Counseling

Semester 1, 2001-02

W 4:00-6:30 Educ 0020


The course has the following six objectives:

1) Provide general knowledge of the following family therapy models:

Bowenian Developmental Network
Cognitive Behavioral Experiential Psychodynamic
Communication Healthy Strategic
Contextual Multigenerational Systemic

2) Provide in depth knowledge of an Narrative/Systemic models of family therapy.

3) Promote skill development in forming therapeutic systems for use in family intervention.

4) Promote skill development in intervention techniques for use in family intervention.

5) To acquire an understanding of how the legal, judicial and public welfare systems affect family systems.

6) To gain experience in the use of computer technology for client feedback systems and record keeping.


1) Evaluation of abilities in formation of therapeutic systems and restructuring techniques will be carried out through:

    a) clinical observation of therapeutic interaction with client families.

    b) review of clinical notes.

    c) detailed presentation of a case in class.

2) Demonstration of knowledge of family therapy models will be through submission of a written conceptually driven case study.



This course will focus on specific skills in the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of family problems.   The course will present strategies and tactics for family intervention.  Students will be supervised in the use of these strategies in the concurrent practicum.

Theoretical Approach

The Family Therapy course you are taking offers information from many different theories and therapists. An extensive list of the models and a supplemental bibliography are included in this syllabus.

The primary difference between individual and family therapy is family therapy's use of the "systems" approach.  This approach holds the tenets that a person is influenced in important ways by the family, environment, or system surrounding him or her.  The communication patterns and interpersonal perceptions/expectations between the individuals in the system make up a large portion the therapeutic focus.  It should be remembered that the family does not exist as a island and that the family system is part of a larger social system that includes extended family, community norms, governmental and judicial frameworks, and religious tenets.   Most important is to consider the therapists as a part of the change process, not as agents of change but as changing agents.  The primary goal of family therapy is to understand, accept, and promote change in the family system and the larger systems in which the family must operate.

Theory into Practice

To best understand the theories of family therapy, a practicum experience has been designed into the course.  Each class member will be assigned at least one client family to work with during the length of the course.  The Indiana University Center for Human Growth will provide referrals for the class.   One of the strongest aspects of this didactic practicum experience is that in addition to experience with the techniques of family therapy, you will gain firsthand knowledge of the legal, judicial and public welfare systems.   This information should prove valuable for whatever type of counseling profession you eventually enter.


The instructor for the Family Therapy course will be Dr. Michael Tracy.. Office hours for instructor are posted at

Dr. Michael Tracy, Ph.D.
Voice: 812/856-8345
Office: 812/8


Class Meetings

The first meeting of the G568 Family Counseling class will be held on Wednesday, August 29, at 4:00 in Room 0020 of the Education building.   If for some reason you are unable to attend this initial class, please call Dr. Tracy.

Practicum Experience

Client families will be assigned early in the course.   Family therapy sessions should be held at least one time per week following assignment.   Family therapy sessions will be held at the Center for Human Growth.  This gives the family a change to "break out of the mold" of their usual environment and try new behaviors in a "safe" arena.   Available times for the lab will be posted prior to the first meeting with your client family.

Required Text

The text for the course will be:

Becvar, D.S., and Becvar, R.J., (2000). Family Therapy: A Systematic Integration, Needham Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon.

The book is available in the university bookstore and enough copies were ordered for all students to purchase one.  It may be available in local bookstores as well.


A portion of each class period following the initiation of family therapy will be devoted to supervision of the counseling work you are doing with your families.  To facilitate this process, case notes from your sessions will be entered in the computerized data system no more than 24 hours after the session has been completed.   The format for submitting case notes will be discussed during the first class.   Michael Tracy has responsibility for supervising your family therapy work.   Contact  Lynn Gillman or Michael Tracy if you need assistance with your client family during the semester.

Case Presentations

In addition to direct work with families, each class member will be a part of several therapeutic teams. During each session where client families are being seen, the team will evaluate the prior session and rehearse the next session.   The remainder of the class will provide feedback on this evaluation/rehearsal. Each therapeutic team will write and present a detailed case study of their work on the Site-Scape Form associated with this class:
The initial password for accessing the form will be announced during the first class.   Be sure to change your password to protect confidential client information.  The purpose of posting to this form is is to allow all members of the class to learn from the experience you have gained with your client families.  The presentations should include detailed information about the family model, diagnosis, therapeutic goals (of the counselor and client family) and therapeutic strategies employed to achieve those goals.  A discussion of therapeutic interventions that didn't work as well as expected can be an especially informative part of your presentation..

Computer Competence

Each student will communicate using the computerized data system and Site-Scape  Form.  Each student has an account set up for his or her use. You will submit your case notes to the computerized data system and all other work to the Site Scape  Form.

If you already have and use your student account number, Mike Tracy’s email is
click here (this stops spam email harvesting).  If you have not used your account number, you can get your number, along with information on how to use it and basic instruction in computer use at IU in Room 061 of the I.U. Memorial Union.  You might be wise to take one of the short courses offered by the Computing Services.


To be announced during initial class.



Beavers, W. Robert (1985). Successful marriage: a family systems approach to couples therapy. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Broderick, Carlfred B. (1981). Couples: how to confront problems and maintain loving relationships. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Broderick, Carlfred B. (1979). Marriage and the family. New York: Prentice-Hall.

Broderick, Carlfred (1983). The therapeutic triangle: a sourcebook on marital therapy. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Bross, Allen (Ed.) (1983). Family therapy: Principles of strategic practice. New York: Guilford Press.

Cristy, Norton F. (1980). Staying in love: Reinventing marriage and other love relationships. New York: Jove Publications.

Karpel, Mark, and Strauss, Eric (1983). Family evaluation. New York: Gardner Press.

Kramer, Jeanette R. (1985). Family interfaces: Transgenerational patterns. New York: Brunner/Mazel.

Madanes, Cloe (1981). Strategic family therapy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

McGoldrick, Monica, and Gerson, Randy (1985). Genograms in family assessment. New York: W. W. Norton and Company.

Minuchin, Salvador (1967). Families of the slums. New York: Basic Books.

Napier, and Whitaker, Carl (1978). The family crucible. New York: Harper and Row.

Nichols, Michael (1984). Family therapy: Concepts and methods.   New York: Gardner Press.

Papp, Peggy (Ed.) (1977). Family therapy: Full length case studies. New York: Gardner Press.

Selvini, Matteo.(1988). The Work of Mara Selvini Palazzoli. Northvale, NJ,. Jason Aronson Inc

Pomery, Claire (1977). Fight it out, work it out, love it out.   New York: Doubleday and Co.

Ramey, James (1977). Intimate Relationships. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Sager, Clifford, and Hunt, Bernice (1979). Intimate partners: Hidden patterns in love relationships. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Satir, Virginia People making and cojoint family therapy.   Sherman, Robert, and Fredman, Norman (1986). Handbook of  structured techniques in marriage and family therapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel.

Sholevar, G. Pirooz (1981). The handbook of marriage and family therapy. New York: Spectrum Publications.


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