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FAMILY THERAPY - AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH IN THE REHABILITATION OF ADULT PROBATIONERS

NCJ Number
47759
Journal
Federal Probation Volume: 42 Issue: 1 Dated: (MARCH 1978) Pages: 40-44
Author(s)
D J WENDORF
Date Published
1978
Length
5 pages
Annotation
AN INNOVATIVE FAMILY THERAPY APPROACH TO THE REHABILITATION OF ADULT PROBATIONERS, INSTITUTED BY THE MCLENNAN COUNTY ADULT PROBATION DEPARTMENT IN WACO, TEXAS, IS DESCRIBED.
Abstract
THE MAJOR PREMISE OF THE PROGRAM IS THAT INDIVIDUAL PROBATIONERS FUNCTION WITHIN COMPLEX INTERRELATED SYSTEMS, AND THAT BOTH THE PROBATIONER AND THESE SYSTEMS MAY BE IN NEED OF REHABILITATION. USING A FAMILY SYSTEMS APPROACH, THE THERAPIST OBSERVES THE DYNAMICS OF THE FAMILY INTERRELATIONS, IDENTIFIES AREAS OF DYSFUNCTION, AND INTERVENES BY TEACHING CLIENTS SPECIFIC PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS AND SELF-HELP STRATEGIES. SUCH AN APPROACH IS PROBLEM-ORIENTED AND IS EVALUATED IN TERMS OF PRACTICAL BEHAVIORAL CHANGE. THE APPLICATION OF THIS APPROACH IS ILLUSTRATED IN THE CASE OF A PROBATIONER WITH A HISTORY OF DRUG ABUSE, DRUG-RELATED THEFT, AND PRESCRIPTION FORGERY. THE CLIENT WAS CHARACTERIZED AS HAVING AN IMPULSIVE, ASOCIAL PERSONALITY WITH LOW FRUSTRATION TOLERANCE AND LITTLE SOCIAL INSIGHT. PRELIMINARY INTERVENTION AIMED AT HELPING THE SUBJECT ACQUIRE FUNDING FOR A VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION TRAINING PROGRAM. ONCE THE CLIENT BECAME MORE TRUSTING OF THE THERAPIST, HE CONFIDED A NUMBER OF PROBLEMS IN HIS HOME LIFE. THE CLIENT EXPRESSED DISSATISFACTION WITH HIS WIFE'S APPEARANCE, CARE OF THEIR CHILD, AND HER LAXITY IN HOUSEWORK. THE WIFE, ON THE OTHER HAND, WAS DISSATISFIED BY THE CLIENT'S CONSTANT USE OF MARIHUANA, INABILITY TO HOLD A JOB, AND CRITICISM. TO AMELIORATE THIS SITUATION, A CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED BETWEEN THE HUSBAND AND WIFE IN WHICH THE HUSBAND AGREED NOT TO SMOKE MARIHUANA AS LONG AS HIS WIFE KEPT THE HOUSE, HERSELF, AND THE CHILD CLEAN. SHOULD THE WIFE FAIL IN THIS TASK, THE HUSBAND WAS PERMITTED TO SMOKE MARIHUANA. IF THE HUSBAND SMOKED WHILE THE WIFE KEPT HER PART OF THE CONTRACT, HE WAS OBLIGATED TO TAKE HER ROLLER SKATING. ADDITIONAL INTENSIVE COUNSELING WAS AIMED AT IMPROVING THE COMMUNICATIONS AND PARENTING SKILLS OF BOTH THE HUSBAND AND WIFE. THE PROBATIONER SIGNIFICANTLY DECREASED HIS USE OF MARIHUANA AND BEGAN SCHOOL, HIS WIFE TOOK MORE INTEREST IN MAINTAINING THE HOUSE AND IMPROVING HERSELF, AND THEY BEGAN TO IMPLEMENT THEIR COMMUNICATIONS SKILLS. THE CLIENT SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED HIS PROBATION PERIOD; AFTER 7 MONTHS OFF PROBATION HE WAS STILL ATTENDING SCHOOL AND HAD NOT BEEN ARRESTED FOR ANY OFFENSES. THE NEED FOR FOLLOWUP OF THE CASE IS EMPHASIZED. (JAP) FOLLOWUP OF THE CASE IS EMPHASIZED. (JAP)