The family life cycle

Final paper CSL689 Spring 2017

For the first two questions provide short answers of no more than two –three paragraphs explanations.


The family life cycle and the larger social context in which it is embedded are the natural framework within which to focus our understanding of individual identity and development. Provide a short and concise description of this framework and what it entails.


Families react to many stressors, both internal and external, as they move through the family life cycle. The flow of anxiety through a family can be understood to operate along two axes: vertical, and horizontal. Explain what goes into each axis and how they influence each other.


Based on the following case example, hand in no more than an 8-page written paper to the questions below, provide some citations and appropriate quotes to support your ideas. Use APA format. Case analysis:


You are a counselor in a community mental health agency and were referred the family below. You have just received a new referral from the local middle school’s guidance counselor. Junior (John Jr.) is a 14-year-old male who lives at home with his parents, John, age 40 who is Caucasian and Maria, age 38 is Hispanic, and his 12-year-old brother Pete. The parents have been married for 18 years. Dad works in sales and is an administrative assistant. Although they identify as Catholic, there has been little emphasis or conflict about religion.

John’s behavior has become increasingly difficult over the last year where he is acting out in school and arguing with his teachers. The school has spoken with John’s parents before, but Dad felt the school was making “mountains over mole hills” and was not very receptive. This has contributed to the couple’s arguments in the past, and one of the reasons they are currently in couples counseling. It is known that the couple has their own marital issues and is described as: Dad is either disengaged or shows a temper, especially when he is drinking. Mrs. Believes that her husband’s drinking is problematic and she describes him as irresponsible and Mrs. is saddled with most of the child rearing and organizing their social world.

Mom is critical of both husband and John. Father comes to son’s rescue when Mom is berating John for getting into trouble. John seems to favor dad and John protests Mom’s requests and house rules. As a consequence, Mom is becoming depressed. The parents have been married for 18 years. Dad, age 40 works in sales and mom, age 38 is an administrative assistant. John is Caucasian and Maria Hispanic John’s younger brother is doing well, is close to Mom and looks up to John. Although little is known about John and Maria’s family of origin, John’s family were against his marriage on grounds of racial differences. This issue continues to be unresolved and John’s dad refused to speak to his son for many years. Maria is the oldest of two and she had to help her father raise her younger sister (who was dad’s favorite) when her mother died when Maria was an adolescent.

Give a rationale for using a genogram as an assessment tool and a brief description of a family genogram
Give a rational for using a Family life cycle frame for understanding the above family.
Identify the stressors that may be influencing this Family’s emotionality; addressing the vertical and horizontal flow of anxiety operating on family.
What are the life cycle issues that this family is moving through at this time, and what are the tasks of the family at this stage? Please identify the different tasks for the members from each generation.
Describe the notion of triangles, and identify any triangles that might be operative in this case.
From a Bowen perspective the basic problem emotional immaturity or lack of differentiation gets played out in relationships and the attending anxiety contributes to the development of several possible relations patterns. They are: a. distance between spouses, b. marital conflict, c. sickness or dysfunction in spouse, d. cutoffs, e. transmission of marital problem to one or more children. Please identify those patterns that are present in this family and describe who is involved in the pattern; what function does it serve; and how and what would you do to intervene. Also what are your intentions in intervening in those ways?
As part of your treatment plan, develop at least one goal for this family, and two objectives that speak to this goal.
Although the family life cycle framework is an established and useful way of understanding human development, many have critiqued it for privileging normative, traditional family values and structures. Take a critical view of the framework and give examples of where it needs to be more inclusive of the transformations taking place in our society.