A Comparison of Structural Family Therapy to Strategic Family Therapy Essay

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A Comparison of structural family therapy to strategic family therapy essay

Although structural therapy and strategic therapy are both used in family therapy, these therapeutic approaches have many differences in theory and application. As you assess families and develop treatment plans, you must consider these differences and their potential impact on clients. For this assignment, as you compare structural and strategic family therapy, consider which therapeutic approach you might use with your own client families.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy.
  • Justify recommendations for family therapy

To prepare:

  • Review this week’s learning resources and reflect on the insights they provide on structural and strategic family therapies.

The Assignment

In a 2- to 3-page paper, address the following:

  • Summarize the key points of both structural family therapy and strategic family therapy.
  • Compare structural family therapy to strategic family therapy, noting the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Comparison of Structural Family Therapy to Strategic Family Therapy Sample Essay

Structural and Strategic Family Therapies

Family therapy is a kind of psychotherapy that focuses on examining and implementing necessary adjustments for a family’s well-being. Although therapists may utilize a variety of models in their practice, structural and strategic treatment models have received more attention and theoretical development. As a result, this study examines the two models and notes their fundamental similarities and differences.

Structural Family Therapy

The goal of structural family therapy is to improve self-esteem in individuals and family networks. A structural approach, according to Nichols and Tafuri (2013), focuses on intervention strategies geared largely at modifying family members’ perceptions of how to diagnose and cure dysfunction. Williams (2016) further claims that when diagnosing an underlying problem, a therapist may use a family structure map to establish the fundamental reason, after which an integrated therapy strategy can be used.

In this case, structural family therapy comprises examining how family interactions feed a particular dysfunction and realigning the family’s viewpoint. The central tenet of this model is that the problem can be solved by maintaining a balance in the structural interaction.

Strategic Family Therapy

Strategic family therapy, on the other hand, is based on a methodical approach to resolving an issue. According to Lindstrom, Filges, and Jorgensen (2015), the approach begins treating the underlying issue by providing guidelines that aid in identifying the illness. Furthermore, family members are engaged in helping the sufferer modify his or her behaviour by removing adverse interactions. Lindstrom, Filges, and Jorgensen (2015) discover that in the event of a recurrence in maladaptive relationships, the patients’ families are recommended to participate in pernicious activities, hence enabling better interactions.

Comparison of Models

In contrast, the two models focus on using the family network to facilitate behavioural change, greater communication, and the removal of problematic relationships. As a result, the primary goal of both models is to eliminate maladaptive behaviour in individuals and their families. Furthermore, according to Schwartz, Muir, and Brown (2012), both models objectively adjust the family structure while keeping the right family balance, although using distinct methodologies.

When the models may have some similarities, Sheehan and Friedlander (2015) suggest that it is the job of the family therapist to decide the model of choice while diagnosing and fixing the issue. Finally, both models have been successfully used to address behavioural problems among youths, according to Schwartz, Muir, and Brown (2012).

Important Distinctions and Flaws

The strategy used in enabling a change in the family structure is the main distinction between the two models. The goal of structural family planning, according to Schwartz, Muir, and Brown (2012), is to change the dysfunctional family structure. The concept, however, has been criticized for ignoring the fundamental family structure in nuclear families. Strategic family planning, on the other hand, is based on a relational approach for achieving a family transformation that has been criticized for being restrictive and restricting the flexibility of the families engaged.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Family systems theories
Comparison of Structural Family Therapy to Strategic Family Therapy Essay: Differences

1. What is the difference between structural and strategic family therapy?

Strategic therapists concentrate on the current symptom, while structural therapists focus on the family’s fundamental issues.

2. What are the three models of strategic family therapy?

SFT is guided by three principles: all family members are related, a family’s habits influence its members’ behaviour, and intervention must be tailored to the issue and suit the family’s requirements.

3. What were the major contributions strategic family therapy gave to the family therapy field?

Some of the primary advantages of strategic family therapy include enhancing family cohesion, boosting communication, and improving parenting habits.

Additional content on family therapy comparisons.


  • Lindstrom, M., Filges, T., & Jorgensen, A. K. (2014). Brief Strategic Family Therapy for Young People in Treatment for Drug Use. Research on Social Work Practice,25(1), 61-80. doi:10.1177/1049731514530003
  • Nichols, M., & Tafuri, S. (2013). Techniques of Structural Family Assessment: A Qualitative Analysis of How Experts Promote a Systemic Perspective. Family Process,52(2), 207-215. doi:10.1111/famp.12025.
  • Schwartz, S. J., Muir, J. A., & Brown, C. H. (2012). Brief strategic family therapy: An intervention to reduce adolescent risk behaviour. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice,1(2), 134-145. doi:10.1037/a0029002
  • Sheehan, A. H., & Friedlander, M. L. (2015). Therapeutic Alliance and Retention in Brief Strategic Family Therapy: A Mixed-Methods Study. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy,41(4), 415-427. doi:10.1111/jmft.12113
  • Williams, A. E. (2016). The Viability of Structural Family Therapy in the Twenty-first Century: An Analysis of Key Indicators. Contemporary Family Therapy,38(3), 255-261. doi:10.1007/s10591-016-9383-9.
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Comparison of Structural Family Therapy to Strategic Family Therapy

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