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Using Family Systems Theory in Psychotherapy: 3-Video Series
How many times have we become mired in our client’s presenting problem, losing our way in the therapy room? In this riveting three-volume series, master clinician Monica McGoldrick offers us the illuminating roadmap of Family Systems Theory to focus and deepen our assessment and treatment of individuals, couples and families.
All of us, from novice to expert have bounced from one technique to the other while trying to “solve” a client’s problem, “fix” a family’s identified patient or “mend” a warring couple’s communication pattern. Monica McGoldrick frees us from the misguided pull of an individual’s problems by demonstrating how the lens of Family Systems Theory can help us with all of our clients, shifting our clinical attention from individual symptoms and presenting problems to racial, cultural, gendered and life-cycle issues that can keep clients in perpetual distress. In so doing, she will help you challenge, support and empower your clients to explore and resolve family-of-origin and relational conflicts that lock them and us hopelessly in place.

Few of us would question that couples and family work can be frustrating and exhausting. However, it can also be energizing and inspiring when we help our clients break free of repetitive patterns. Why not bring an alienated father right into the session to solve a couple’s marital dilemma, or encourage a husband to visit his family in another country to unlock long-buried secrets and re-build connections? If we take chances, perhaps our clients will too.

Join McGoldrick, front and center as she skillfully engages in a series of interviews and interventions with a diverse range of clients. While it is so easy to see our clients as one-dimensional, McGoldrick deepens our appreciation for the subtle yet powerful ways that individuals are parts of complex systems and how the past must always be alive in our clinical work. Instructive voice-over commentaries and incisive debriefings with Victor Yalom will deepen your family systems learning experience.

To order an individual title in this series separately, click on the title of your choice in the list below.

In this Series…

What therapists are saying…

"Monica McGoldrick shares her refined skills of working with a family with the audience. The viewer receives a comprehensive overview of McGoldrick’s expertise in Family Systems Theory including building rapport with each individual family member and the family as a whole, the usage of genograms, as well as shifting the focus away from the presenting problem and instead exploring the systemic background. Novice and seasoned mental health professionals will benefit from this course alike to expand their knowledge and repertoire of clinical skills."

- Raffaela Peter, PhD, LMHC, NCC, Associate Professor Bellevue University
"These videos empower novice and seasoned clinicians to learn and feel more confident in their ability to use family systems theory in practice. As a clinical supervisor and future counselor educator, I aim to use a variety of videos from Psychotherapy.net to enhance learning!"

- Sarah Silva, MA, LCPC, PhD Student in Counselor Education and Supervision 
"Excellent information from the author. The genogram is a great strategy to use when working with families or individuals. Dr. McGoldrick's demonstration of how to quickly put together a genogram and gather information that details what is occurring with the client and/or family is a valuable tool that both beginning and experienced therapists can use. The use of this strategic tool never fails to give a "good" picture of family dynamics. Using these videos in a classroom setting will help students learn the process and begin to develop confidence in using genograms."

- Mary G. Mayorga, PhD., LPC (TN), LPC-S (Texas), NCC, CCDS (Texas), CART, Belmont University
In Depth
Monica McGoldrick is not simply a master practitioner of systems-oriented strategies and techniques. She thinks and works directly in the language of systems theory. By watching her engage with challenging couples and families, you will learn the clinical power of this language. In the process, you will see client problems in new and liberating ways, as well as learn to forge powerful alliances and generate meaningful solutions WITH them. These demonstrations and accompanying learning exercises will fill your clinical toolbox to overflowing.

In Assessment and Engagement in Family Therapy, we meet the Zapata family who is struggling with teenage self-harming and parental grief. McGoldrick masterfully demonstrates how to integrate specific techniques into treatment that focuses not only on helping the family manage their presenting issues, but also the underlying systems-oriented background concerns. You’ll see her conduct full family sessions and strategically switch between working with various combinations of family members as well as with 15-year-old Maria. McGoldrick makes authentic connections with this warm but conflicted family, while also using collaboration, direction, and transparency to reinforce their commitment to change.

In Harnessing the Power of Genograms in Psychotherapy the next video, we meet John, a 39-year-old African-American graphic designer who is having marital problems with his pregnant wife Barbara. Mystified and distressed by his pattern of distancing behavior, John opens himself to McGoldrick’s empathetic investigation of the social and historical context of his current struggles. Co-explorers on a journey into his family’s story through McGoldrick’s on-the-spot creation of a genogram, the team uncovers surprising links between his past and present. In her masterful hands, John makes fascinating discoveries and uncovers surprising coincidences, poignant tragedies and inspiring sources of resilience.

In Couples Therapy: A Family Systems Approach, we fast forward 10 years to a rare, powerful and rarely available clinical follow-up. Over six sessions with Barbara and John, now 12 years married with one child, McGoldrick explores their current relationship challenges in the context of each of their own dramatic and palpable family-of-origin relations. Watch and learn from McGoldrick as she works work with John and Barbara around intimacy, communication and trust. In doing so, she helps the viewer to appreciate the personal and clinical challenge of couples therapy which often means bringing family-of-origin members directly into the room, both figuratively and literally.

By watching and engaging with this training series, you will:
  • Describe the core elements of a family systems theory orientation to therapy whether working with individuals, couples or families
  • Utilize genograms to place clients’ presenting problems in a historical and social context
  • Describe the role of contextual factors, e.g. race, gender and culture in assessment and treatment 

Length of Series: 8:22:50

English subtitles available

Monica McGoldrick, M.A., LCSW, Ph.D. (Honorary), the Director of the Multicultural Family Institute in Highland Park, New Jersey, is also Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She received an Honorary Doctorate from Smith for her many contributions to the field. Among many other awards, she has received the American Family Therapy Academy Award for Distinguished Contribution to Family Therapy Theory and Practice. She has written and spoken widely on a variety of topics including culture, class, gender, the family life cycle, loss, genograms, remarried families, and siblings. Three of her books have become best-selling classics of their publishers: The Changing Family Life Cycle, 3rd edition; Ethnicity and Family Therapy, 3rd edition; and Genograms: Assessment and Intervention, 3rd edition. See her website for more information on Monica McGoldrick and The Multicultural Family Institute.

See all Monica McGoldrick videos.

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