4.00 CE Credits Available
Assessment and Engagement in Family Therapy
by Monica McGoldrick
Whether you’re new to family therapy or seeing a new family client, you need a clear and effective framework to navigate this often treacherous terrain. In this new video, legendary family therapist and genogram innovator Monica McGoldrick demonstrates how to engage and assess a family in the initial stage of treatment.
Many mental health clinicians are exposed to various theories of family therapy during their training, but there is much less information on what you actually do in session with families. How do you handle the initial phone call? Which family members do you see in the first session? How do you shift the attention away from the “identified patient” and onto the family system? How do you use the genogram to help gain insights about the historic family patterns that may be influencing the current family system?

In this compelling new video, Monica McGoldrick shows you how to do all this and more, as she engages in the early stages of treatment with a Latino family experiencing teenage self-harming and parental grief. You’ll see her conduct five sessions of family therapy with 15-year-old Maria, her immigrant parents Rosa and Roberto, and her young-adult half-sister Vanessa. With her characteristic warmth, McGoldrick seamlessly illustrates how to deepen rapport, manage risk, encourage communication, and turn clients’ unique talents into tailored homework assignments.

You’ll also watch McGoldrick deftly and strategically switch between seeing various combinations of family members. With Rosa and Roberto, McGoldrick uncovers their issues as a couple and makes use of their cultural values to suggest possible solutions. In individual work with Maria, she gains her trust and encourages youthful autonomy. With this warm but conflicted family, McGoldrick makes authentic connections while also using collaboration, direction, and transparency to reinforce their commitment to change.

This video is a valuable introduction to the nuts and bolts of assessment and engagement in family systems therapy, complete with live examples of its challenges and successes. Clinicians looking to sharpen their skills in family therapy, systems-based interventions or working with genograms will find it an invaluable resource.  

What therapists are saying…

"Monica demonstrates the value and skills of authentic and transparent meetings with the family. Her questions and assumptions are shared in ways that simultaneously build rapport and expand the inevitably rich context for exploring meanings, assumptions, resources and connections. Victor Yalom’s interview of Monica further elucidates the kinds of skills needed to meet, assess and intervene in a way that can best be described as ‘so very, very helpful."

--Jean McLendon, LCSW, LMFT, University of North Carolina, School of Social Work- Satir Program
“Watching Monica McGoldrick use a genogram to engage a family and identify significant intergenerational patterns has tremendous learning value. Her in-process narration draws viewers’ attention to critically important family dynamics and provides insight into her choices for guiding these family sessions. Assessment and Engagement in Family Therapy is a valuable training tool for therapists who what to strengthen their skills in working with families, as well as educators who want to their students to learn from a master family therapist and teacher.”

--Salome Raheim, PhD, ACSW, Professor, University at Albany – SUNY, School of Social Welfare
“Monica McGoldrick is a master family therapist, who makes her moment-to-moment thinking and action accessible to both beginners in training and experienced therapists. Using humor, warmth, gentle confrontation, exquisite timing and connection, she weaves the complexities of gender, ethnicity, migration, social class, loss, step-families, adolescence and marriage in to a gorgeous tapestry.”

--Evan Imber-Black, PhD, Program Director, Marriage and Family Therapy Masters' Program, Mercy College  
In Depth
CE Test
The systems approach to family therapy has taken root over the past half-century as a prominent and trusted assessment framework. Even as other methods have entered the field, the systems perspective—including the genogram—remains a reliable way of understanding the complex relationships and rich histories that characterize a family. While we now largely accept that family dynamics can influence individual members’ healing capacities, we can still feel mystified by how to actually begin a course of family therapy. In this excellent new video resource, family systems expert Monica McGoldrick offers practical tools to help you move forward with adolescents and their families. Over five clinical sessions with the Zapata family, she demonstrates how to integrate specific techniques into treatment focused on helping family clients manage not just their presenting issues, but also the systems-oriented background concerns that underlie them.

To start, McGoldrick outlines the key principles of early-stage systems therapy and discusses the many judgment calls a family therapist must make. Covering genogram application, the need (or not) for risk assessment, separating family members during a session, and more, McGoldrick illustrates the collaborative yet directive, client-engaging nature of the approach. You’ll also find helpful commentary in which McGoldrick generously discusses her frustrations in session and then shows how to clinically address them.

This video is an essential tool for clinicians who want useful strategies for systems therapy, adolescent therapy and risk assessment, or family-based alliance building.

By watching this video, you will:
• Get an expert perspective on systems therapy and its application to adolescents and their families.
• Learn how to engage parents in a discussion about their respective backgrounds and its collective impact.
• Find helpful tips for working with immigrant client populations. 

Length of video: 4:05:00

English subtitles available

Individual ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-529-7

Individual ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-529-8

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-530-0

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-530-4

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.

CE credits: 4

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain how systems therapy applies to families with adolescents
  • Describe how to engage parents in discussing the impact of their family backgrounds
  • Plan effective interventions for immigrant clients

Bibliography available upon request

This course is offered for ASWB ACE credit for social workers. See complete list of CE approvals here

© 2017

Course Reviewed January 2024

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