120 Helping Family Members with Maladaptive Communication perspective. You can introduce students to the professional skills associated with helping families address maladaptive patterns, even if they are unable to apply them to their own practice. An effective way to do this is to remind students that a family is a group, albeit one with a specific set of functions. The skills discussed in this chapter mirror those that will be presented in chapter 11, which help group members address maladaptive communication and relationship patterns. Use a lecture format to introduce students to the essential functions of a family, asking them for their feedback. Using the information presented at the outset of the chapter, ask students to consider various family forms and to iden- tify the particular external and internal pressures to which each is subjected. Ask students to specify the unique or special tasks that each form faces, and to provide examples from their practice experience or their observations of friends, themselves, and others. Family Structure and Processes Students need to understand interdependence of family structure and pro- cesses, as well as the ways in which they reinforce one another. 1. Use a lecture format to introduce to students to family subsystems. Graphic representations assist students in understanding the concepts of boundaries and subsystems and their complementarity. Begin with the illus- tration of the “perfect” (but nonexistent) family system shown in figure 10.1, in which the external boundaries around the family as a whole and the internal boundaries around each member are permeable. Ask students to describe what this means in terms of the family’s ability to access resources from the external environment, as well as maintain its sense of shared identity. Before moving into the internal systems in the family, ask students to con- sider what it means if the boundaries around the family as a whole are rigid and diffuse, using a bold solid line to illustrate a rigid boundary and a dotted line to illustrate a diffuse one, as shown in figure 10.2. It can get very confusing to include all subsystems and all boundaries within a family in one diagram. Therefore, examine each subsystem one at a time beginning with the partner system, then moving to the executive system, and the sibling and parent-child systems (when they exist). You can use case exam- ples provided in the chapter, solicit examples from students, or provide your own. We suggest that you begin with healthy family functioning and then con- trast this with maladaptive functioning for each system. The partner system in the Takahashi family, for instance, would be diagramed as in figure 10.3.
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