Therapy with Single Parents : A Social Constructionist Approach book cover
1st Edition

Therapy with Single Parents
A Social Constructionist Approach

ISBN 9780789004079
Published May 23, 2006 by Routledge
342 Pages

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Book Description

Provide effective counseling to members of single-parent families

With more than half of all first marriages ending in divorce, it’s time to re-think the notion that “divorce” means “failure.” Therapy with Single Parents focuses on the strengths of the single-parent family rather than its weaknesses, stressing the need to look at the socially constructed norms, values, and definitions associated with marriage and family in order to provide effective counseling. This unique book examines experiences that are common to single parents and presents interventive strategies for treating single-parent family issues, drawing on clinical case studies to provide technical knowledge in everyday language.

Current research shows that single parents account for 27 percent of family households that include children under 18 and that the number of single mothers in the United States more than tripled between 1970 and 2000. Therapy with Single Parents challenges outdated notions that the single-parent family is somehow deficient and associated with adjustment problems in children. It doesn’t ignore the anger, pain, sadness, and guilt experienced by many members of single parent families but offers therapeutic considerations from a more balanced approach. The book examines the social, psychological, and sexual experiences of newly single parents and addresses the ups and downs they’ll face in dealing with schools, the workplace, and social services.

Therapy with Single Parents examines:

  • social and psychological differences between divorce and widowhood
  • cognitive-behavioral principles of single-parent families
  • what children can learn from divorce
  • dealing with the ghosts of past relationships
  • relationship rules
  • dealing with adult children and extended families
  • the effect of change in divorcing families
  • the feminization of poverty
  • the therapeutic value of social networks
Therapy with Single Parents is an invaluable resource for psychologists, professional counselors, social workers, and marriage and family therapists. The book presents a thorough, in-depth examination of the single-parent family system as a viable, healthy family form.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Single Again Through Divorce
  • Historical Divorce Rates
  • Interpreting Divorce Rates
  • Social Definitions and Reactions to Divorce
  • Psychological Reactions to Divorce
  • Chapter 2. Single Again Through Widowhood
  • Psychological Differences Between Divorce and Widowhood
  • U.S. Widowhood Rates
  • Social Aspects of Widowhood
  • Psychological Aspects of Widowhood
  • Therapy Strategies
  • Chapter 3. Single-Parent Family Issues
  • General Concern Among Single-Parent Families
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Principles
  • Therapy Strategies
  • Summary
  • Chapter 4. Resiliency and Competence in Children Experiencing Divorce
  • The Competent Divorce
  • Factors Associated with the Competent Divorce
  • What Children Can Learn from Divorce
  • Summary
  • Chapter 5. Redefining Relationships
  • The Ghost versus Reality: Stress Reductions
  • The Ghost versus Reality: Relationship Issues
  • Relationship Rules
  • Perpetual Divorce and Ambiguous Loss
  • Loss and the Family
  • Role of the Professional Therapist
  • Therapy Strategies
  • Chapter 6. Relational and Sexual Considerations After Divorce
  • Issues in Sexuality
  • Sexually Single Again
  • Sexual Outlets
  • Incidence of Sexual Intercourse
  • Frequency of Sexual Intercourse
  • Number of Partners
  • Initiating Sex
  • Quality of Sex
  • Sex and Single Parents
  • Therapy Strategies
  • Chapter 7. Relational and Sexual Considerations After Widowhood
  • Sexual Considerations of Widowhood
  • Therapy Strategies
  • Summary
  • Chapter 8. Interacting with School Personnel
  • The Pathology Assumption
  • Academic Resilience
  • Challenging “Reality”
  • The School
  • Psychoeducational Models
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophesies
  • Failure Analysis
  • The Family
  • The School and the Family
  • Role of the Professional Therapist
  • Therapy Strategies
  • Chapter 9. Single Parents, Work, and Welfare
  • The Feminization of Poverty
  • Poverty and Psychological Distress
  • Therapeutic Value of Support Networks
  • Role of the Professional Therapist
  • Therapy Strategies
  • Chapter 10. The Single-Parent Family and Social Constructions
  • Social Constructionist Theory
  • Social Constructionist Therapy
  • Theoretical Concepts
  • Therapy Strategies
  • Summary
  • Chapter 11. Conclusions
  • Reexamining the Pathology Assumption
  • The Myth of Pathology
  • Interpersonal and Systemic Circularity
  • Summary
  • Bibliography
  • Annotated Bibliography and Internet Resources
  • Index
  • Reference Notes Included

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"Therapy with Single Parents: A Social Constructionist Approach is an indispensable resource for professional counselors working with single-parent families, school guidance counselors, and educators who teach in the areas of Social Studies, Sociology, Psychology, Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, and Education. Authored by professionals with backgrounds in practice and teaching, this book will have wide appeal.  While the authors by no means ignore the emotional and financial problems often experienced by members of single-parent families, they present a more balanced view -  based on recent, sound methodological research - of the single-parent family as "a viable, healthy family form." This is a welcome and revolutionary claim that challenges entrenched social stereotypes."

- Tatjana Chorney in Journal of Association for Research on Mothering

"This book provides practical information, using common language for clinicians and others who work with single parents/systems…This book strives to depict single parenthood as a viable family structure instead of a deficit position…I would recommend this book to therapists working with single parents…one of the first of its kind to address the unique experiences of single parents and should be applauded."

– Joseph L. Smith, Ph.D., Smith College Studies in Social Work