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A follow-up study of family group therapy Akin, Clifford K


Family Group Therapy has in the past ten years gained much notice in the field of Mental Health, especially in the treatment of children. However, despite the fact that much family group therapy has been done, little research into the results or lasting effects has been carried on. This study hoped to explore some of the effects of family group therapy on a particular group of families from which a random sample was taken. They were seen at the Burnaby Mental Health Centre, over a period of one year. In family group therapy the approach is radically different from that of individual therapy with an identified patient. The whole family is seen together with an emphasis on total family functioning. Therefore, in our follow-up study we designed our questionnaires and data analysis to include the entire family equally with no emphasis on any particular member. In designing our questionnaire we chose the six areas of family functioning considered most important, both by the therapists and the theorists, in the field of family group, therapy. In each of these areas changes in the families’ perception of their own functioning was elicited. To determine the reliability of our results a reliability test originally designed by Kerckhoft was used in the areas of husband-wife task sharing and role relationships. We then compared the results of our questionnaire and Kerckhoft reliability test with four independent variables. These variables including socio-economic class, family type, number of interviews, and therapists' impressions. In two variables particularly, the socio-economic class and the number of interviews, we found a relationship between the results of our questionnaire and the variables. We experienced difficulties in obtaining a suitable sample to interview. Only eighteen families agreed to be interviewed for the purposes of this study, from a total of fifty-four families contacted. For that reason a superficial study is also done of those families who refused to be interviewed. As our sample was found to be not really representative of all families seen in family group therapy it is rather premature to draw any real conclusions from our study. However, it is possible to say that family group therapy did seem to effect changes in a number of the families interviewed.

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