In the course of their daily practice, counsellors in a wide variety of caring agencies often meet with families and need to assist them in dealing with the problem or problems they face. This text focuses on normative family problems, such as birth or leaving home; problems which distort normative expectations, such as divorce and step-parenting; and those that are produced by the unexpected, such as accidents or chronic illnesses. Emphasis is placed on helping families within a traditional counselling framework and successful family counselling is defined as being a combination of a number of elements. The author maintains that counselling should: be in keeping with the family's strengths and style; offer an empathetic listening to each family member; maintain a perspective of the changing nature of family life; focus on clear and open communication and deal in problem-solving manner with the task in hand. As such he outlines the skills necessary to undertake family counselling and the processes that families have to go through in order to deal with the tasks that are set for them.
This handbook should be of interest to trainees, professionals and voluntary workers whose work involves contact with families.
`An admirably clear introduction to a large and complex topic.... this book will prove invaluable to the widest range of health and social welfare professionals... An outstanding feature is the warmth with which the author approaches his subject. The concern and respect which are the cornerstone of the professional relationship permeate the text. The tone of this book is lively, it is clearly written and very readable. I would recommend it to anyone who works with families' - Changes
`There are many books available on counselling families and this is one of the best... It is crammed full of important information and fascinating examples. I recommend it' - The Therapist
`A thought-provoking systemic paradigm of family counselling, primarily for counsellors-in-training in systemic work with families and experienced practitioners seeking some "refreshment"... Eddy Street displays a style of thinking and writing which highlights the kaleidoscopic patterns of family relationships. The results for the reader can be an ever-developing appreciation of systemic work and counselling skills within that frame' - Counselling, The Journal of the British Association for Counselling
`A book I would recommend beginner and experienced counsellors or counselling psychologists to read and purchase' - British Psychological Society Counselling Psychology Review
`Street offers remarkably concise coverage of the rapidly growing body of literature on family systems therapy... the text is enlivened by case vignettes illustrating therapeutic techniques. Counsellor goals and techniques at different stages of the work are nicely summarized in tables and boxes. There is a valuable diagram on the Family Life Cycle. Among the many insights are comments on the range of expectations families entertain of counsellors, and the implications of these for the counsellor's efforts. Family counsellors working in institutional settings will enjoy the analysis of referrer motivations, as well as the advice on how to manage ill-prepared or inappropriate referrals. I warmly recommend this book as an enriching introduction to family systems thinking and therapy' - Communications Newsletter