2nd Edition

Black Families in Therapy Understanding the African American Experience

By Nancy Boyd-Franklin Copyright 2003

    This classic text helps professionals and students understand and address cultural and racial issues in therapy with African American clients. Leading family therapist Nancy Boyd-Franklin explores the problems and challenges facing African American communities at different socioeconomic levels, expands major therapeutic concepts and models to be more relevant to the experiences of African American families and individuals, and outlines an empowerment-based, multisystemic approach to helping clients mobilize cultural and personal resources for change.

    I. African American Families: The Cultural and Racial Context
    1. Overview
    2. Racism, Racial Identity, and Skin Color Issues
    3. Extended Family Patterns, Kinship Care, and Informal Adoption
    4. Role Flexibility and Boundary Confusion
    5. African American Men and Women: Socialization and Relationships
    6. Separation, Divorce, Remarriage, and Stepparenting
    7. Religion and Spirituality in African American Families
    8. Additional Important Topics in African American Communities
    II. Major Treatment Theories, Issues, and Interventions
    9. The Therapist's Use of Self and Value Conflicts
    10. Major Family Therapy Approaches and Their Relevance to Treating African Americans
    11. The Multisystems Model
    12. Public Policy Issues: A Guide for Clinicians
    III. Socioeconomic Class Issues and Diversity of Family Structures
    13. Poor Families and the Multisystems Model
    14. Single-Parent African American Families
    15. Middle-Class African American Families
    IV. Implications for Supervision, Training, and Future Research
    16. Implications for Training and Supervision
    17. Conclusion and Implications for Future Clinical Work and Research


    Nancy Boyd Franklin, PhD, is a Professor in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. She is also an African American family therapist and the author or editor of several books. An internationally recognized lecturer and author, Dr. Boyd Franklin has published numerous articles on such issues as the treatment of African American families, extended family issues, spirituality and religion, home based family therapy, group therapy for Black women, HIV and AIDS, parent and family therapeutic support groups, the multisystems model, and community empowerment.

    Nancy Boyd-Franklin has long been a leading voice on the experience of African American families. In this new edition of her groundbreaking clinical text, she expands and deepens our understanding of the diverse backgrounds and complex challenges of Black families in our society, illuminating the strengths that therapists can tap into. This is invaluable reading for students and practitioners in mental health and social service fields.--Froma Walsh, PhD, School of Social Service Administration, Department of Psychiatry, and Center for Family Health, University of Chicago

    Black Families in Therapy, Second Edition, will doubtless become a classic. It is well organized; written in clear, understandable language; draws on a wealth of information from diverse disciplines; and covers a number of important new topics. Among the book's outstanding features is its incisive narrative style, in which major concepts, principles and therapeutic approaches are highlighted with vivid case examples and vignettes. This is an excellent text for upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses addressing Black family life, African American psychology, multiethnic family therapy, cross-cultural psychology, pastoral counseling, and related topics.--Joseph L. White, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of California, Irvine

    With the initial publication of this text, Nancy Boyd-Franklin broke new ground and set a high standard for research, teaching, and therapeutic practice with African American families. The new second edition is yet another pace-setting gift to the field. Some books are designed to fill a crucial gap on the reference shelf. Others are useful as textbooks for students in family studies, counseling, psychology, psychiatry, and even sociology. Still others function best as working manuals for practitioners. Black Families in Therapy, Second Edition, will surely serve all these functions while moving to the head of the line of readable, provocative, and insightful works in this area.--Andrew Billingsley, PhD, African American Studies Program and The Institute for Families and Society, University of South Carolina

    This impressive second edition draws on more than a decade of new research and clinical experience to enrich and expand a classic text. No one in the mental health field can afford to be without this basic primer for understanding and working with African Americans. Dr. Boyd-Franklin has always had a remarkable ability to combine theory and practical application. Written with clarity, insight, and creativity, the book is full of concrete information and case examples, while at the same time providing a strong understanding of the historical context and the evolving political realities of African American families. It also does an amazing job of dispelling persistent, pejorative myths in this essential clinical area. This book should be required reading for every psychotherapist, counselor, educator, social worker, and human service professional.--Monica McGoldrick, LCSW, PhD (h.c.), Multicultural Family Institute, Highland Park, New Jersey

    Many scholars write about characteristics of African American families, but no one else does so with the empathy and sensitivity that characterize Nancy Boyd-Franklin's second edition of Black Families in Therapy. Dr. Boyd-Franklin describes the complexities of African American families with respect to ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and skin color, to highlight but a few of the new and/or expanded themes that give substance to this edition. The case examples throughout the book are extremely useful for helping the reader to 'see' the dynamic interplay among such factors within the family system, as well as the societal contexts in which family members function. Dr. Boyd-Franklin's discussion of therapist ethnicity as an aspect of therapy addresses the often-asked question of whether only Black therapists can work effectively with Black families. Any therapist or therapist in training who intends to deliver race- and culture-sensitive services to African American families should consider this book required reading.--Janet E. Helms, PhD, Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology, and Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture, Boston College
    The author provides a wellspring of practical explanation for therapists on how to broach Issues that often confront Black families. This book offers concrete dialogues and narratives to expand the concepts presented. Boyd-Franklin has a remarkable ability to simplify very complex family therapy concepts so the average reader may understand. This author blends a daunting array of social and psychological issues affecting the Black family into highly readable and practical discussions....The author did an outstanding job at presenting significant issues....The richness of the framework it presents and its thorough exploration of the primary concerns of Black families' renders it a must read for all clinicians....Clinicians in any setting will find the information practical and useful. In addition, this text is a good resource for students in the Behavioral Sciences and Human Services' professions.
    --American Journal of Family Therapy, 4/22/2006