The social organization

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According to Salvador Minuchin, a leading family therapist, a therapist must intervene in the family so as to unbalance the system, in order to enhance the operations of family system. To accomplish this, family or marriage therapists are required to become coaches or mentors, and become involved in the basic family communication matrix in order to steer back the communication from within. According to Minuchin, therapists help the family by joining them in a leadership position, evaluate the underlying family structure and create circumstances that will allow the transformation of the structure (Ward, 2002, p. 180).

There are two main types of marriage and family therapy approaches: Structural family therapy and strategic family therapy. Structural approach emphasizes that the family organizations are composed of subsystems and focuses on the boundaries between those subsystems. The strategic approach focuses on repeating sequences of behavior, particularly those that break hierarchical rules through cross-generational coalitions (Sexton, Weeks, Robbins, 2003, p. 192). In the structural family therapy, the therapist establishes himself as a leader of the therapeutic system.

He watches the family in action, identifies the overly rigid family structures, and plans an intervention to reduce loosen the old and establish new structures. Hence, it is clear that the therapist cannot be merely an observer; he must enter the system to transform it. For this purpose, therapists join the family and establish leadership by showing that they understand and are working to help family members, and by activating those aspects of them that are congruent with the family.

Therapists then adjust their position to accomplish family goals. When therapists are familiar with the areas of potential weakness in a family shape they can probe and plan therapy accordingly (Sexton, Weeks, Robbins, 2003, p. 192). Strategic family therapy is a pragmatic approach in which a therapist is expected to clearly define a presenting symptom and design a specific therapeutic plan to resolve it. In this case too the therapist must join the family, so that the members accept his leadership.

Then the therapist focuses on the existing problem and tries to resolve it. The therapist has to assume different leadership roles in the family at different times. At some places he can give a straightforward directive, where he accepts the family members to comply. At some other places, the therapist may work with some family members to come up with a solution if a particular member is facing some problem. It is usually seen that therapists with stronger leadership and control strategies tend to do better with chaotic families (Barker, 2007, p. 46).

However, strong-arm tactics are not always helpful. As is seen in the section above, success of a therapist is not only dependent on the level of their knowledge on the theories of clinical psychology; it also depends upon their own personalities. For instance, the inclusion of a person in a family, especially a troubled one is not a very easy task. Establishing leadership in such circumstances is even more difficult.

However, some people manage these tasks due to the sheer force of their personality, which clearly shows the principle of Charismatic leadership at work, while therapists with less powerful personalities achieved much less in such situations (Sexton, Weeks, Robbins, 2003, p. 192). In community relations leadership obviously falls under the responsibility of the social worker because of the person’s extensive community contacts, with acquaintance with the social organization, and the person’s concern with the social forces within the community.

Social workers are very valuable resources in any clinical setting because they know when and how to enlist community support, how to locate and work with community resources. Hence, they have the aptitude to become efficient and effective clinical supervisors. Social workers in macro community work engage in leadership facilitation with community representatives, and can sharpen their own skills in organizing, planning, research, advocacy, public speaking and documentation to social change. Yet another area in which clinical social workers can do community service is family therapy.

This way they can ensure the well-being of their clients and at the same time reaffirm their leadership in the clinical domain. This is because family therapy is an effective type of intervention given the temporal work of clinical work in health settings. Many models of the family treatment are short term, often task-centric and aimed merely at short-term adaptation to new circumstances (Rosenberg, Clarke, 1987, p. 9).


Antonakis J, Cianciolo AT, Sternberg RJ, (2004), “The Nature of Leadership”, Published: SAGE, California Barker P, (2007), “Basic Family Therapy”, Published: Blackwell Publishing, Oxford Barker AM, Sullivan DT, Emery NJ, (2006), “Leadership Competencies for Clinical Managers: The Renaissance of Transformational Leadership”. Published; Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Virginia Bass, Riggio, (2006), “Transformational Leadership”, Published: Roultedge, Massachusetts Bates M, (2007), “Health Fitness Management”, Published: Human Kinetics, Illinios Borkowski N, (2005), “Organizational Behavior in Healthcare” Published: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Massachusetts

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