2nd Edition

Working with Families of the Poor

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ISBN 9781593853471
Published January 18, 2007 by Guilford Press
259 Pages

USD $34.00

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Book Description

This widely adopted text and practical guidebook presents the fundamentals of family-based intervention with clients struggling with chronic poverty-related crises and life stressors. Grounded in Salvador Minuchin's influential systemic model and the extensive experience of all three highly regarded authors, the book illustrates innovative ways for professionals within substance abuse, foster care, and mental health contexts to build collaboration with families and other helpers, and to elicit families' strengths.

Table of Contents

I. Fundamentals of Family-Oriented Thought and Practice
1.The New Edition: Elements of Constancy and Change
2. The Framework: A Systems Orientation and a Family-Centered Approach
3. Working in the System: Family-Supportive Skills
4. Changing the System: Family-Supportive Procedures
II. Implementing a Family-Oriented Model in Service Systems
5. Substance Abuse: A Family-Oriented Approach to Diverse Populations
6. Foster Care: Children, Families, and the System
7. The Mental Health of Children
8. Moving Mountains: Toward a Family Orientation in Service Systems

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Patricia Minuchin, PhD, is codirector of Family Studies, Inc., Professor Emeritus at Temple University, and currently associated with the Minuchin Center for the Family. Dr. Minuchin has taught at Tufts University and served as Senior Research Associate at Bank Street College. A developmental psychologist, trained in clinical psychology, her publications have focused on the growth and functioning of children in the context of the family, the school, and under the conditions created by poverty, foster placements, and family disorganization.

Jorge Colapinto, LPsych, LMFT, is a family therapist and a consultant to human service organizations in the development and implementation of systemic models of service delivery. He has developed training curricula and practice materials for the Administration for Children's Services of New York City and other service agencies. He has been on the faculties of the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic, Family Studies, Inc., and the Ackerman Institute for the Family, where he directed the foster care project.
Salvador Minuchin, MD, is currently Director of Family Studies, Inc., and is associated with the Minuchin Center for the Family. Dr. Minuchin was formerly Director of the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic and Professor of Child Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania. A major figure in the field of family therapy, he has published widely on family theory, technique, and practice.


"Trends in human services in the last two decades have pushed the family out of the ways that problems are conceptualized and people are served. The costs of this trend are becoming increasingly clear. Yet few have known how to push the pendulum back. The second edition of this classic book buttresses the authors' case for a family approach in substance abuse treatment, child welfare, and mental health contexts, offering up-to-date examples of interventions that have helped individuals reconnect with their families. For a half-century, these authors have relentlessly advocated a family perspective in human services, and have creatively demonstrated how family-focused care can be done. This valuable book is both an inspiration and a practical resource for practitioners and administrators in all fields of human service."--Gordon Harper, MD, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
"This wonderful second edition contains powerful new case examples that have expanded the authors' seminal work with poor families into many different areas. The book serves a need, so often expressed by clinicians, for effective, 'real-world' intervention strategies that incorporate a family systems approach. This is an essential text for use in training and continuing education in all mental health fields, and an invaluable addition to the libraries of beginning and experienced clinicians."--Nancy Boyd-Franklin, PhD, Distinguished Professor, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
"This brilliant and humane second edition is a 'must read' for all those who truly want to make a difference in the complex needs of poor families today. Using a family and systems resource model, the authors show how to transform efforts that are typically uncoordinated into integrated, effective services that highlight clients' strengths. They offer an indispensable practical framework for teaching, practice, and policy focused on low-income families facing multiple life stressors."--Celia J. Falicov, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego
The authors provide brilliant descriptions of how families as systems attempt to survive, how government agencies as systems attempt to help, and how the 2 or more systems interact....Of great value are specific word-for-word accounts of interactions that demonstrate how one approaches system-thinking on one's feet. While the authors stress that clinicians should restrain their expertise, that is not a call for passivity. Instead, as one reads the interactions of these clinicians with the families, one is impressed with the courage of the clinicians. This book has multiple strengths....We applaud this book for its attempt to call attention to a group that is largely overlooked, yet whose members have the potential to make positive changes in their lives if given some help. The writers are on the front lines of this fight, and by describing their experiences with their clients, they put a human face on problems society would prefer to ignore....Those who work with the multicrisis poor will find this book a useful resource.
--Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 12/22/2006ƒƒ
The authors begin the book by superbly chronicling the need for a family approach in our social service system....Has certainly added some helpful insights, techniques, and new paradigms to the family systems field.
--Family Journal, 12/22/2006ƒƒ
A powerful read for any professional whose work revolves around families who live on the margins of society....In clear and precise prose, the authors describe their work in detail, with case examples, anecdotes, and useful commentary....An excellent book, full of descriptive case examples, and written in a firm, persuasive, clear, and authentic voice. It covers a multitude of areas relevant to anyone who works with marginalized families today—whether in agency, a protective services office, or a family therapy training program....A book that focuses on restoring people's humanity in the small and important ways it can be lost in these troubled times. The book's celebrated authors offer careful, creative, well-thought-out and well-tested ideas for how to forge a path out of the madness—for institutions and the people who work within them, and, most of all, for the families often swept up in their wake. As such, the book's potential utility in and outside the field is timeless.
--Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 12/22/2006