Advertisement

Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 3–21 | Cite as

Teaching Family Systems Theory: A Developmental-Constructivist Perspective

  • Karen Caldwell
  • Chuck Claxton
Original Paper

Abstract

Kegan’s (In over our heads: The mental demands of modern life, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1994) description of an “In Over Our Heads” phenomenon has much to offer those who engage in teaching family systems theory and therapy, particularly in relationship to the tensions involved in the potential mismatch between the developmental demands of the curriculum and the orders of consciousness that characterize students’ responses to the material. Kegan’s notion of the “holding environment” and Kolb’s (Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1984) theory of experiential learning are rich resources instructors can draw on to orient their teaching and curriculum more explicitly to supporting students on their developmental journey. In this article we provide examples of how to do that and also discuss the kinds of faculty development and changes in the program culture that are needed if “teaching for development” is to become more embedded in MFT programs.

Keywords

Teaching family systems theory Family therapy training Developmental constructivism Organizational culture Systemic change 

References

  1. Abbey, D. S., Hunt, D. E., & Weiser, J. C. (1985). Variations on a theme by Kolb: A new perspective for understanding counseling and supervision. The Counseling Psychologist, 13(3), 477–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, S., Rigazio-DiGilio, S., & Kunkler, K. (1995). Training and supervision in family therapy: Current issues and future directions. Family Relations, 44(4), 489–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Argyris, C., & Schön, D. A. (1996). Organizational learning II: Theory, method, and practice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  4. Becvar, D., & Becvar, R. (2009). Family therapy: A systemic integration (7th ed.). New York: Pearson Education/Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  5. Brendel, J. M., Kolbert, J. B., & Foster, V. A. (2002). Promoting student cognitive development. Journal of Adult Development, 9(3), 217–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carter, B., & McGoldrick, M. (Eds.). (1999). The expanded family life cycle: Individual, family, and social perspectives. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  7. Claxton, C. S. (1997). Teaching and learning in criminal justice ethics. In J. Kleinig & M. L. Smith (Eds.), Teaching criminal justice ethics: Strategic issues (pp. 59–78). Cincinnati: Anderson.Google Scholar
  8. Claxton, C. S., & Murrell, P. H. (1992). Education for development: Principles and practices in judicial education. East Lansing, MI: The Judicial Education Reference, Information, and Technical Transfer Project.Google Scholar
  9. Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., & Ecclestone, K. (2004). Learning styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning: A systematic and critical review. Learning Skills and Research Centre. Retrieved June 11, 2009, www.lsda.org.uk/files/PDF/1543.pdf.
  10. Daloz, L. A. (1986). Effective teaching and mentoring. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  11. DeBold, E. (2002). Epistemology, fourth order consciousness, and the subject–object relationship, or, how the self evolves: An interview with Robert Kegan. What is Enlightenment?, 11, Retrieved January 7, 2009, from http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j22/kegan.asp?pf=1.
  12. Eriksen, K. (2006a). The constructive developmental theory of Robert Kegan. The Family Journal, 14(3), 290–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eriksen, K. (2006b). Robert Kegan, PhD: Subject-object theory and family therapy. The Family Journal, 14(3), 299–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eriksen, K. (2007). Counseling the ‘imperial’ client: Translating Robert Kegan. The Family Journal, 15(2), 174–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eriksen, K. (2008). ‘Interpersonal’ clients, students, and supervisees: Translating Robert Kegan. Counselor Education and Supervision, 47(4), 233–248.Google Scholar
  16. Eriksen, K., & McAuliffe, G. (2006). Constructive development and counselor competence. Counselor Education & Supervision, 45, 180–192.Google Scholar
  17. Erikson, E. (1963). Childhood and society. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  18. Fong, M., Borders, L. D., Ethington, C. A., & Pitts, J. H. (1997). Becoming a counselor: A longitudinal study of student cognitive development. Counselor Education & Supervision, 37(2), 100–114.Google Scholar
  19. Frontczak, N. T. (1998). A paradigm for the selection, use and development of experiential learning activities in marketing education. Marketing Education Review, 8(3), 25–33.Google Scholar
  20. Granello, D. H. (2002). Assessing the cognitive development of counseling students: Changes in epistemological assumptions. Counselor Education & Supervision, 41, 279–293.Google Scholar
  21. Grigoriou, E. (1998). Mental health practitioners’ use of emotion with Kegan’s theory of constructive developmental psychology. Unpublished dissertation. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Hall, E. T. (1981). Beyond culture. New York: Anchor.Google Scholar
  23. Honey, P., & Mumford, A. (2006). Learning styles helper’s guide. Berkshire, England: Peter Honey Publications. (Rev. ed).Google Scholar
  24. Kegan, R. (1982). The evolving self: Problem and process in human development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kegan, R. (1994). In over our heads: The mental demands of modern life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. (2001). Seven languages for transformation: How the way we talk can change the way we work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  27. Kegan, R., Noam, G., & Rogers, L. (1982). The psychologic of emotion: A neo-Piagetian view. In D. Cicchetti & P. Hesse (Eds.), New directions for child development: Emotional development (Issue No. 16, pp. 105–128). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  28. Kohlberg, L. (1984). The psychology of moral development: The nature and validity of moral stages. San Francisco: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  29. Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  30. Kolb, D. A. (1999). The Kolb learning style inventory, version 3. Boston: Hay Group.Google Scholar
  31. Loevinger, J. (1976). Ego development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  32. Loo, R. (2004). Kolb’s learning styles and learning preferences: Is there a linkage? Educational Psychology, 24(1), 99–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Murrell, P. H., & Claxton, C. S. (1987). Experiential learning theory as a guide for effective teaching. Counselor Education and Supervision, 27, 4–14.Google Scholar
  34. Osborn, C. J., Daninhirsch, C. L., & Page, B. J. (2003). Experiential training in group counseling: Humanistic processes in practice. Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education, and Development, 42, 14–28.Google Scholar
  35. Palmer, P. J. (1998). The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  36. Parks, S. D. (1993). Is it too late? Young adults and the formation of professional ethics. In T. R. Piper, M. C. Gentile, & S. D. Parks (Eds.), Can ethics be taught? Perspectives, challenges, and approaches at Harvard Business School (pp. 13–72). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School.Google Scholar
  37. Parks, S. D. (2000). Big questions, worthy dreams: Mentoring young adults in their search for meaning, purpose, and faith. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  38. Pedrosa de Jesus, H. T., Almeida, P. A., Teixeira-Dias, J. J., & Watts, M. (2006). Students’ questions: Building a bridge between Kolb’s learning styles and approaches to learning. Education & Training, 48(2/3), 97–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Perry, W. G. (1970). Forms of intellectual and ethical development in the college years. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  40. Piaget, J. (1967). Six psychological studies. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  41. Pratt, L. (1998). Becoming a psychotherapist: Applications of Kegan’s model for understanding the development of psychotherapists. Unpublished dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst.Google Scholar
  42. Raschick, M., Maypole, D. E., & Day, P. A. (1998). Improving field education through Kolb learning theory. Journal of Social Work Education, 34(1), 31–42.Google Scholar
  43. Rogers, L., & Kegan, R. (1991). Mental growth and mental health as distinct concepts in the study of developmental psychopathology: Theory, research, and clinical implications. In D. P. Keating & H. Rosen (Eds.), Constructivist perspectives on developmental psychopathology and atypical development (pp. 103–147). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  44. Sandmire, D. A., Vroman, K. E., & Sanders, R. (2000). The influence of learning styles on collaborative performances of allied health students in clinical exercise. Journal of Allied Health, 29(3), 143–149.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Selman, R. (1980). The growth of interpersonal understanding: Developmental and clinical analyses. Boston: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  46. Senge, P. M. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Doubleday Currency.Google Scholar
  47. Sprinthall, N. A. (1994). Counseling and social role taking: Promoting moral and ego development. In J. R. Rest & D. Narváez (Eds.), Moral development in the professions: Psychology and applied ethics (pp. 85–99). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  48. Svinicki, M. D., & Dixon, N. M. (1987). The Kolb model modified for classroom activities. College Teaching, 35(4), 141–146.Google Scholar
  49. Wagner, T., Kegan, R., Lacey, L., Lemons, R. W., Garnier, J., Helsing, D., et al. (2006). Change leadership: A practical guide to transforming our schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  50. Winnicott, D. W. (1965). The maturational process and the facilitating environment. New York: International Universities Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Psychological CounselingAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  2. 2.Department of Leadership and Educational StudiesAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA

Personalised recommendations