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During therapy, the expectations play a significant role as far as the client change is concerned. The therapist is expected to understand the clients appropriately to enable personalized and effective care as well as positive outcomes at the end of the therapy (Heafner et al. 2016). The marriage and family therapy, specifically Marital Satisfaction Inventory-Revised (MSI-R), involves a lot of information sharing as regards to the couples, their families, and their relationship (Snyder and Aikman, 1999). It is expected that the therapist would ask a wide range of questions concerning the current challenges facing the clients and the objectives of carrying out the therapy. Notably, the therapist is not an advocate for either of the clients, which means that the therapy is different from personal counselling. Therapist, in this case, is expected to evaluate the dynamics and interpersonal relationships of all the clients involved, either the partners or the family member. As Wills and Snyder (2007) assert, the marriage and family therapy involves the entire family and the concentration will be on the interactions between and among the family members.
Basically, while using Marital Satisfaction Inventory-Revised, it is expected that the clients may feel like the therapist is taking their side, supporting their partner, or seeing their perspective. In most cases, this would lead to clients feeling so biased. However, the therapist is trying to assist and comprehend each of the partners aiming to improve their relationship (Snyder and Aikman, 1999). The personal requirements may contradict with what the relationship requires. As such, it is expected that couples will argue, disagree and raise tension throughout the therapy. This would generate participation among the clients, making the counselling to succeed. Each of the participants is expected to improve their awareness and understanding of themselves. Enhanced understanding brings about effective interaction patterns and relationship dynamics.
It is recommended that one must be prepared to examine the beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and feelings of the clients. While this may be difficult, it is worth as it leads to effective intervention and outcomes for the couples. Much commitment is expected throughout the therapy. In some cases, the therapy may take months and years, but the main issue is to reach an effective intervention and outcomes (Heafner et al. 2016). At the beginning of the assessment, I expected that the therapy would take not more than three months; however, based on the evaluation, the counselling take even a year. The fact here is to give the relationship time for the intervention to succeed.
The assessment items or questions in marriage and family therapy are more complex. This is mainly because of the cultural norms and family behaviors. It is essential for the therapist to be much conversant with the culture of the clients to enable constructing questions that can result in successful counselling. In fact, understanding the special characteristics and sensitivities of cultural groups can enable the therapist in comprehending actual and probable problems. Different cultures are diverse as much within groups as they do between groups (Bailey, 2012). Due to such complexity, the understanding of diverse cultures is a transformative process based on the therapist's ability to differentiate cultures. The clinician or the therapist is required to ask questions that integrate the function of culture within each distinctive family. It is a multifaceted process, however, it allow the family and couples to experience the understanding, involvement and interest of the counsellor.
There is no doubt that cultural groups significantly affect the family unit. Therefore, perceiving the influences prompted by the culture as mutual beliefs, attitudes and behavior; the therapist can easily comprehend and construct appropriate questions for the clients. The main idea here is not to violate the cultural norms of the clients and facilitate the suitable anticipated outcomes. From the assessment of marriage and family therapy, it is apparent that successful counselling and treatments with families or couples mean incorporating the cultural aspects and identifying the problems that are affecting the relationship.
The assessment of marriage and family therapy is relevant both in clinical and research applications. It has been proved that such assessment widely help marriages and families, making it an effective way to solve the various problems that may arise in families and relationships. Other studies such as Wills and Snyder (2007) have emphasized that the role of this assessment, pointing out its appropriateness in helping couples to address the issues in their families and marriages. It is a useful means of understanding the strengths and weaknesses of families as well as comprehending their cultural norms, attitudes and behaviors, hence establishing a proper intervention.
At the beginning of the assessment, it is expected that the couples or family members in the therapy may argue and disagree on the various issues. In reality, this is what happens as each partner has their distinctive ideas and understanding. The counsellor would be forced at some point to end the session due to persistent disagreements that could lead to adverse conflict. It was also anticipated that the increased involvement of the clients would lead to a suitable intervention. Even though this is an appropriate approach in any therapy, it does not succeed in other cases as it increases arguments and lack of mutual agreement. The therapist requires to be more cautious while allowing involvement to ensure that it does not in any way disrupt the entire process (Bailey, 2012). Last but not least, it was expected that construction of questions based on the cultural norms would result in an effective therapy. Indeed, this is an obvious result as it highly leads to a better solution for the couples and the family members.
As Whisman et al. (2014) point out, ethical considerations are important aspects for assessment in Marriage and Family therapy. There are various ethical considerations associated with administering the Marital Satisfaction Inventory-Revised. Comprehending about record keeping and privacy must be precise and understood at the beginning of the assessment. Basically, the interaction between the couple and the therapist presents a critical issue as far as the privacy is concerned. It is recommended that the therapist should not reveal the major personal secrets that shared during the assessment.
Most importantly, the therapist must continuously deal with the frustrating issues that arise during the assessment. It is crucial for the therapist to remain non-judgmental while using the MSI – R tool in order to help the couple effectively. While it is the purpose of therapy to attempt to retain and develop better relationships, this marriage and family therapy is not aimed to control relationships at all costs, hence, in cases where agreement is not reached, the couples should be allowed to part ways (Whisman et al., 2014). It would be unethical for the therapist to force the couple to remain intact.
The assessment is relevant to my specialization. In fact, it is reliable, valid and appropriate in what I do in my career. The assessment would help me to come up with a better treatment approach for the couple or family experiencing problems. By using this assessment, I would be in a position to enhance my passion for assisting people to overcome difficulties and steer dysfunctional behaviors to live happier and more satisfying lives.
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- Joe Wessh (Author), 2018, Marriage Family Therapy, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/493833