Intro to Guidance and Counseling

THE KLINES: Family with a son in trouble Family Systems Perspective
Assume that a person in the agency where you work has done an intake interview and that you are given the
following information:
The Kline family consists of Gail and George, their two daughters, Jessie, 10, and Jaimi, 12, and their son
Gary, 16. George called for the intake interview. He said that his son was in trouble for stealing and dealing
drugs. Gary is on probation, and the court ordered him to undergo therapy. It was suggested that the entire
family be involved in some kind of family therapy.
George is following the suggestion of the court and involving the entire family in counseling sessions. However,
he does not have much hope that therapy will be of great help. According to him, the one who is responsible
for the family’s problems is his wife, who, he says, is an alcoholic. George, a businessman who does a great
deal of traveling, is convinced that he is doing all he can to hold the family together. He comments that he is a
good provider and that he does not understand why Gail insists on drinking. He feels that Gary has gotten
everything that he ever wanted, and he maintains that the young people of today are “just spoiled rotten.” The
father says that his eldest daughter, Jaimi, is the best one of the bunch, and he has no complaints about her.
He sees her as being more responsible than his wife as well as being more attentive to him. He views his
younger daughter, Jessie, as pampered and spoiled by her mother, and he has little hope for her.
George is willing to give family counseling a try and says he hopes that the therapist can straighten them all
out. He says that he, Gail, and Jessie are all willing to come in for a family session. Jaimi does not want to
attend, however, because she says she has no problems and sees no purpose in therapy for herself. Gary is
very reluctant to appear, even for one session, because he feels sure that the others in the family will see him
as the source of their problems. To satisfy the conditions of his probation, Gary would rather choose “the lesser
of two evils” and see a therapist privately.
The counselor who did the intake interview saw only the father for an initial session. He suggests that you see
the entire family for at least one session and then decide how to proceed.
Questions for Reflections from a Family Systems perspective:

  1. Which of the different family systems models would you find useful?

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