What Are Some Examples of Structural Family Therapy?

Some examples of structural family therapy are enactment, restructuring and unbalancing. Another example of structural family therapy is joining, a technique in which the therapist temporarily joins the family network in order to offer suggestions for structural changes.

Enactment as a type of structural family therapy requires family members to recreate the family’s dysfunction in the presence of the therapist. During enactment, the therapist can offer suggestions for different behavior and help family members establish boundaries. Restructuring is another example of structural family therapy that seeks to help family members establish boundaries. In restructuring family therapy, the family works to reassign household roles and tasks, deescalate causes of stress, and change the balance of power in the family dynamic.

Unbalancing techniques focus on helping one family member with a specific problem. In unbalancing structural family therapy, the therapist upsets the family’s normal functioning in order to address the one family member’s issue. In structural family therapy that uses the joining technique, the therapist builds rapport with the family members and even enters into the family system. The purpose of joining is to encourage family members to accept the therapist’s recommendations more enthusiastically.