Postmodern Approach To Family Therapy

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Families are said to constitute realities in which most of one’s attributes are constructed, based on the family interactions, beliefs, values as well as the behaviours that are seen in the specific families one is brought up into (Archer & McCarthy, 2007).
However, even though most of one’s personal characteristics may be heavily influenced by their families; people do have a sense of individuality that makes them unique from any other person in the family (Becvar & Becvar, 2013). Therefore, one may argue that it is these differences that may cause misunderstandings in families.
With this understanding, families often need help to resolve their predicaments, to be able to function together as a unit to different entities (Murdock, 2013).
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2. Postmodern approach to family therapy
The postmodern approach to family therapy is believed to have forwarded a new way of thinking about families and relationships within a family structure. It was developed post the modernism approach and aimed to challenge some its views (Robideau, 2008).
According to Robideau (2008), modernism emphasised the notion of the objective observer, which distinguished between the experts with knowledge and the families whose reality had to resemble what was defined as the functional family. With this approach, counsellors are seen as experts who ought to help families become what is defined as a functional family, and disregards the positive attributes of the family system (Robideau, 2008).
Postmodernism is a theoretical approach that was introduced during the 1980s (Robideau, 2008). It rejects the idea of an expert, who alone possesses the true meaning and correct answers to what defines reality; it accepts that reality is a product of subjective experiences and perceptions, and will therefore have varied interpretations and definitions (Hertlein Lambert-Shute & Benson,
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Social constructionism
Social constructionism places emphasis on the idea that reality is a product of the knowledge and perceptions that a group of people agree upon. It focuses on the construction of reality within groups (Robideau, 2008).
For instance the meaning of what constitutes femininity may be similar across different South African cultures. This may serve as a guide for the South African communities, however with the progression of time, it is evident that the notion of femininity has evolved, which shows that reality is constructed through human relationships and interaction, and can change from time to time (Robideau, 2008).
This is seen when the understanding of femininity evolved from females being expected to stay at home and ensure the well-being of the family; to the present times, where women can be employed and contribute to the financial stability of the family (Langen, 2005).
In this way social constructionism can be said to helpful in family therapy in that it recognises the different values and perceptions upheld in large cultural or ethnic groups, and how they help define a functional family relative to a specific time in history (Robideau, 2008). It also recognises that the meaning and interpretation of a reality is created and can be altered through conversation (Robideau,
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