Presenting Complaint (01:18)
Salvador Minuchin believes families contain resources for change; the family is a complex system containing subsystems; and exploring these subsystems and participating in different subsystems generate change. He adopts proximal and distant positions. A boy tried to commit suicide.
Building Competence: First Cycle (04:02)
Minuchin congratulates Brent on figuring out how to kill himself by carbon monoxide poisoning, creating a therapist-child subsystem. Then, he creates a therapist-father subsystem to explore the father's interpretation of the suicide attempt as a cry for help.
Identifying Family Tension (02:28)
Minuchin challenges the father's certainty that Brent's suicide attempt was an individual act; something happened in the family that triggered his crisis.
Moving the Pieces (02:06)
Minuchin uses a metaphor to create a mother-son subsystem. He asks Brent about intervening when his parents fight. Then, he creates therapist-parent and therapist-child subsystems.
Building Competence: Second Cycle (01:42)
Minuchin creates a mother-son subsystem and challenges their certainty that a therapist must be present to discuss difficult topics. He moves the father closer to Brent, to facilitate the mother's observation.
Building Competence: Third Cycle (03:47)
Minuchin challenges Brent's reluctance to talk to his parents. He presents Brent's suicide attempt as a sacrifice for his mother and discredits her manic depression diagnosis as responsible for family dysfunction. He distributes family responsibility for Brent's behavior.
Exploring New Ways of Relating (03:00)
Minuchin explains that there is no rational explanation for Brent's behavior; the family must draw on irrational ideas. He convinces Brent to tell his mother why he attempted suicide—to save her from her depression.
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