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J Marital Fam Ther. 2001 Jul;27(3):281-300.

Advances in coaching: family therapy with one person.

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  • 1Multicultural Family Institute, 328 Denison St., Highland Park, NJ 08904, USA.


This paper describes the process of "coaching" individuals in their efforts to change themselves in the context of their nuclear and parental family systems. Although this approach is regarded as one of the major modes of intervention in family therapy, the actual methods and techniques for intervention are not widely understood. Moreover, we have expanded the Bowen approach to address powerful cultural and family life cycle influences. The goal of coaching is to help clients define themselves proactively in relationship to others in their families without emotionally cutting off or giving in. Coaching begins by training clients to become observers and researchers of their own role in the family and of family patterns of behavior. Coaching then moves to help them bring their behavior more in line with their deepest beliefs, even if this means upsetting family members by disobeying family "rules."

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