Collaborative Therapy with Multi-Stressed Families

Second Edition

William C. Madsen

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February 6, 2007
ISBN 9781593854348
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388 Pages
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This text and professional resource offers an alternative approach to thinking about and working with “difficult” families. From a nonpathologizing stance, William C. Madsen demonstrates creative ways to help family members shift their relationship to longstanding problems; envision desired lives; and develop more proactive coping strategies. Anyone working with families in crisis, especially in settings where time and resources are scarce, will gain valuable insights and tools from this book.

“The most refreshing aspect of this book is that it pays more than lip-service to genuinely working 'with' families; it is also brimming with motivating clinical case material and is written in an easily readable style....[A] thread of connectedness to professionals' everyday experience runs throughout.”

Journal of Family Therapy


“Madsen's writing style is very conversational and engaging. His years of practice and supervisory experience are evident in his ability to make salient points regarding practice. The text is rich with diverse examples illustrating key concepts. Madsen clearly links his framework to the theory and models he is building upon. He maintains a strong connection among ideas, creating an intuitive flow from beginning to end. With this strong connection, each chapter could easily stand alone. Because the book emphasizes collaborative work, the client-centered outcomes in this text could be used in many fields where person-centered approaches are practiced. Beyond the arenas of counseling and family therapy, professionals in the fields of education, medicine, nursing, and even business could benefit from the ideas presented in this book.”

Best Practices in Mental Health


“If you read this second edition, you are in serious danger of being inspired by Madsen's clear thinking and practical guidance for working with families that we professionals tend to label 'untreatable.' Madsen's conviction that it is possible to work constructively in 'impossible' situations—which is drawn from experience, and demonstrated in the many case studies—is energizing news. This is the best of books, shot through with compassion and grounded optimism.”

—Andrew Turnell, MA, author of Signs of Safety


“Highly readable and brimming with ideas, this book is an invaluable guide for contemporary clinicians working with multi-stressed families. Madsen provides a way of thinking about families that reflects narrative concepts and theories, coupled with practical steps and techniques designed to enhance and solidify therapeutic gains. Clinicians will welcome the many case examples as well as the specific, step-by-step guidance in such areas as therapeutic letter writing and report writing. Drawing on his extensive experience as a consultant to organizations, Madsen also includes an unusual chapter on how to address organizational issues and professional expectations in order to function effectively in partnership with families.”

—Rachel T. Hare-Mustin, PhD, coauthor of Making a Difference: Psychology and the Construction of Gender


“This second edition of Collaborative Therapy with Multi-Stressed Families couldn't be more timely. Why? It goes to the heart of the most venerable tradition of social work concern—providing services and support to families in crisis, in the face of diminished resources and continually shifting mandates. Simultaneously, the book provides practice guidance based on approaches that deeply engage postmodern scholarship and its implicit politics. Recently, social work as a profession has become dispirited. This book breathes new life into its moral and political foundations.”

—David Epston, MA, Family Therapy Centre, Auckland, New Zealand


“In this second edition of his groundbreaking book, Madsen captures the joys and heartaches of working with multi-stressed families living in frequent crisis. Although the book is filled with useful ideas and specific therapeutic practices, its primary gift is more fundamental and profound: Madsen offers a compassionate, attentive, slowed-down way of being in relation to families in urgent situations that embodies the deepest respect, care, appreciation, and enjoyment of them as full persons, rather than as narrowly described bearers of problems. This engaging book is essential reading for all mental health, social service, health, education, legal, and other professionals who work with families in distress. Like the previous edition, it will hold a central place in my doctoral-level course in family therapy.”

—Peter Fraenkel, PhD, Department of Psychology, The City College of the City University of New York


“This new edition is invaluable for all human service practitioners working with multi-stressed, under-resourced families. Too often therapy, like family life, can become problem-saturated, leaving clients and workers feeling overwhelmed and defeated. Madsen's strengths-oriented, collaborative approach addresses cultural and institutional constraints as it develops clients' potential to envision and realize more empowering life stories and possibilities. This book's clear, practical guidelines and case illustrations will be immediately useful for both beginning and seasoned therapists.”

—Froma Walsh, MSW, PhD, Mose and Sylvia Firestone Professor Emerita, School of Social Service Administration and Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago, and Codirector, Chicago Center for Family Health


“In this era of manualized social work 'treatment,' it is both refreshing and essential to have a textbook that encourages progressive thinking. Madsen's approach integrates the dominant themes in social work education—such as best practices and an emphasis on assessing outcome—with progressive ideas adopted from narrative and solution-focused approaches. The result is a text that offers students an opportunity to think about process, relationship, and use of self, at the same time as it emphasizes contemporary priorities.”

—April Fletcher, MSW, Boston College Graduate School of Social Work

Table of Contents

Introduction: Reflective Practice in Frenzied Times

1. Working with Multi-Stressed Families: Recognizing the Importance of Relational Stance

2. What We See Is What We Get: Reexamining Our Assessment Process

3. Collaboration Is a Two-Way Street: Engaging Reluctant Families

4. Developing a Proactive Vision to Guide Clinical Work: Collaborative Therapy Contracts

5. Collaborative Inquiry: An Anthropological Approach to "Intervening" with Families

6. Examining the Relationship between Clients and the Problems in Their Lives

7. Helping Clients Shift Their Relationship to Problems and Develop Preferred Lives

8. Developing Communities to Support New Lives

9. Solidifying New Lives through Therapeutic Documents

10. Sustaining a Collaborative Practice in the "Real" World

Appendices: A. One Example of a Strength-Based Assessment Outline. B. Questions to Assess Externalized Problems Rather Than Families. C. Considerations in Collaborative Therapy Contracts. D. An Interview Outline to Consolidate Alternative Stories. E. Coauthoring Termination/Consolidation Summaries with Clients.


About the Author

William C. Madsen, PhD, is Founder and Director of the Family-Centered Services Project in Watertown, Massachusetts, an organizational change initiative dedicated to helping state and provincial organizations and community agencies develop more respectful and responsive ways of serving youth and families. Since the 1980s, he has developed, administered, and consulted to many innovative programs. He currently provides international training and consultation regarding collaborative approaches to therapy and the development of institutional structures and organizational cultures that support family-centered work.

Audience

Family therapists, social workers, clinical psychologists, and counselors; supervisors and case managers in outpatient clinics, community agencies, and home-based family preservation programs; others who work with families in crisis.

Course Use

Serves as a text in direct practice and therapy courses within family therapy, social work, clinical psychology, and counseling programs.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

First Edition, © 1999
ISBN: 9781572307094
New to this edition: