Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

Living Edition
| Editors: Jay Lebow, Anthony Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Prescribing Family Rituals in Couple and Family Therapy

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_358-1

Name of Concept

Prescribing Rituals in Family Therapy


Celebrating special occasions and acknowledging family traditions are parts of the rituals that families experience. Rituals can have healing properties for clients dealing with an array of clinical and non-clinical issues. Some rituals reflect history, others reflect tradition, while others serve to be the glue that holds families together. When some families experience the absence of rituals, mental health professionals can prescribe family rituals, with the intent of healing the family and promoting stronger ties.

Theoretical Context for Concept

Family rituals are anchored in systemic family therapy. The theoretical basis for prescribing family rituals rests on the assumption that family rituals serve four important functions: (1) organize the family, (2) mediate individual expectations, (3) recognize and regulate subsystems, and (4) absorb the impact of change and facilitate transitions (Roy 1990). Rituals allow...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Midwestern UniversityDowners GroveUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam Fisher
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  3. 3.Brigham Young UniversityProvoUSA