124 Helping Family Members with Maladaptive Communication If using a case of your own or a student’s, begin by summarizing the case and ask students to identify the maladaptive dynamics and their source. Then engage in the same steps we have outlined here. 2. Use other cases in the chapter—or of yourself or your students—to illus- trate joining, internal mediating, and advocacy skills. For example, if you use the Freeman-Walters family, consider the following scenario, which demon- strates how internal family struggles manifest themselves publicly: Their oldest child, Sarabeth, age 14, and Gwen got into yet another loud shouting match because Gwen grounded her for skipping school and, on other days, com- ing to school drunk. Gwen sent Sarabeth to her room, and Gwen and Martha got into a heated argument that deeply frightened their younger son, age 8, and led to Sarabeth running away. After the teen had not returned for 12 hours, her parents called the police, who found Sarabeth hiding out at a friend’s house. This incident prompted Gwen and Martha to seek help from the worker’s agency. After an initial meeting with the whole family, the worker and family agreed that Gwen and Martha needed to work with the social worker on their relationship, and also that some time needed to be devoted to helping Gwen and Martha be on the same page with respect to parenting their children, particularly Sarabeth. Prepare the class to engage in the role-play by asking students to address the following: • Identify the maladaptive dynamics and their sources. • What are the goals of working with the family? • Who should be included in sessions, and why? If using the Freeman-Walters family, specifically answer the following questions: • What are the hoped for outcomes of sessions with Gwen and Martha? • What are the hoped for outcomes of sessions with the parents and Sarabeth? • Would the younger child be included in subsequent sessions? Consider engaging in several role-plays that will illustrate various skills. In the Freeman-Walters family, for example, do the following: • Role-play a session in which Gwen and Martha work on maladaptive dynam- ics in their partner system. • Role-play a session in which Gwen and Martha work on maladaptive dynam- ics in the executive system of the family (and ask students to decide whether Sarabeth and/or her brother should be included).
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