The Family Therapy Approach

December 1, 2010
Dept of Social Work, Amritapuri

“If the future is to be a beautiful, fragrant, fully blossomed flower, women and men must join hands in all spheres. Those who desire peace and contentment in the world community must pay heed to this, right now, in this very moment.”
          - Chancellor Amma (The Infinite Potential of Women, March 7, 2008

Happy WomenBuilding mutual respect and understanding between men and women begins with the family. Doing his part to help, Mr. Renjith R. Pillai of the Department of Social Work recently presented a paper titled Family Therapy Approach to Women with Mental Health Issues.

Co-authored with Dr. R. Parthasarathy Ms. Shobitha Shanthakumari from the Department of Psychiatric Social Work, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, the paper was presented at the recent International Conference on Women and Mental Health at the School of Social Work, Roshni Nilaya in Mangalore.

“Women in India encounter a wide variety of problems in their daily life,” the co-authors wrote, in their paper. “They do not have a role of authority, and their input is often undervalued.”

Noting that this modern age was a time of intense change for Indian families, the authors outlined the effects of globalization, industrialization and migration on family life. “While small families provide more autonomy and freedom to their members, they lack the support provided in a joint family system to amicably address and solve various issues,” they stated.

The paper discussed how women tended to tolerate some problems, ignore others, and solve some with the help of their family members. “Of late, however, women with psychological, interpersonal and psychiatric problems associated with personal life, marital life or work life have started seeking help from counselors and other mental health professionals.”

The authors explained that family therapists advocated therapy for the whole family, rather than just the woman alone, because problems often developed in the social context of the family.

Happy WomenThe authors should know. They offer workshops for family therapists.

“A complete course of family therapy usually encompasses 12-16 sessions,” stated the authors. “Not only the women themselves, the entire family benefits.”

Permanent solutions and coping strategies can be implemented, thus empowering not only the female members of the family, but also the male members, as all learn to support and nurture each other, mutually respect, understand and empathize with one another.

Chancellor Amma often reminds us of how critically urgent it is to uplift women in order for us all to live full lives and create harmony here on Earth.

“When women are undermined, their children become weak as well. In this way, a whole generation loses its strength and vitality. Only when women are accorded the honor they deserve, can we create a world of light and awareness.”
          – Chancellor Amma (The Awakening of Universal Motherhood, Oct. 7, 2002)

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