Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Challenge in Structural Family Therapy

Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_968-2


In Structural Family Therapy (SFT), challenge designates the therapist’s questioning of the family’s individualistic certainties creating a relational understanding about the symptom and the transformative possibilities of enhanced individual and family functioning.

Theoretical Framework

In Structural Family Therapy, the therapist’s goal is to cocreate a context that expands the relational rules that bind the narrow certainty of the symptom’s location from occurring “in” the Identified Patient (IP) to what happens between them – the context of the family’s relational patterns. Through restructuring relationships, family members can experience different aspects of themselves and others – a liberation of possibility and growth. It is saying, “The concept of what you think about yourself is partial. Your certainty about ‘this is who you are’ is wrong, but it is wrong because you are richer.” (Minuchin and Lappin 2011, p. 29*).


Change is hard, uncertain, and...

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  5. Minuchin, S., Reiter, M. D., & Borda, C. Contributions from: Walker, S. A., Pascale, R., & Reynolds, T. M. (2014). The craft of family therapy: Challenging certainties. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Minuchin Center for the FamilyWoodburyUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • David Kearns
    • 1
  1. 1.Iowa CityUSA