BiographyAbout Dr. Pitta:
I am pleased to be able to discuss my career as well as Assimilative Integrative Family Therapy (AFT). I am a Clinical Psychologist and a Board Certified Couple and Family Psychologist. My commitment to my profession goes far beyond my career. It has been an integral part of my life that included extensive training that lasted far beyond my attaining my terminal degrees. I have devoted my professional career to include practice, teaching and writing. I have a private practice in Manhasset, New York where I treat individuals and families throughout the life cycle. I have taught family therapy and been a supervisor at St. John's University for over 20 years. I have held both state and national offices within the field of Clinical and Family Psychology. I am a board certified Couple and Family Psychologist.
About Assimilative Family Therapy Model:
Having studied many theoretical approaches in the 80’s and 90’s, I was convinced that one approach was not the way to help clients resolve problems. It became clear that my clients who were willing to work in therapy had dilemmas rather than problems. I came to define problems as dilemmas that could not be resolved usually due to client’s inability to do the work of therapy and make the necessary changes in their thinking and actions.
My interest in family therapy emanated from working with children and adolescents. It became apparent to me that the child’s/adolescent’s issues did not only reside within them, but within the parents and the extended family system. And so, my journey began to define the best effective way to help these families and couples. I created “Integrative Healing Family Therapy” that integrated Bowen Family System’s therapy with concepts and interventions of psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral and communications theories. I wrote and taught extensively on the application of this model to children/adolescents, the couple, the mid- lifer and the elderly. As I proceeded in this work, it became apparent that context was a defining variable that needed to be integrated into my theoretical approach as well as a deep respect for common factors to approximate the most effective way to help clients.
Messer (1992) coined the term Assimilative Therapy that defines identifying a home theory and integrating other concepts and interventions to meet the goals of the clients and home theory. Solving Modern Family Dilemmas: An Assimilative Therapy Model devotes an entire book to explaining theory and principles and demonstrating the use of this model with different patient populations throughout the life cycle.
In Section one of Solving Modern Family Dilemmas: An Assimilative Therapy Model my goal was to offer therapists a model they could easily follow through complete explanations and case examples of each concept and variable presented. The first three chapters are devoted to the descriptions of theory and contextual variables to enable the practitioner to learn the essential underpinnings of the therapy model. In the fourth chapter, the tools of the model are offered that include questionnaires to help therapists identify client’s contexts and levels of resistance. I offer questionnaires to help the therapist create case conceptualizations for each case presented and ultimately their own cases. An exploration of genogram creation and application is described along with the use of psycho-education as an important tool to empower both clients and therapists in resolving dilemmas.
In Section two, chapters are devoted to exploring the application of the AFT model to cases of modern families throughout the life cycle chapter. Chapter 5 is an overview of how to conceptualize the child/adolescent and parenting dilemmas. An exploration of how to evaluate dilemmas, roles of parents in treatment, types of parent relationships and the AFT parenting approach is described. In Chapter 6, a case of grandparents parenting their grandchild as a result of their son’s drug and alcohol addiction and death of his wife is explored. In Chapter 7, the case of a deployed military family member where a teen is “acting out” in the home, school and with friends and upon her father’s return, the father is met with a system that had deteriorated where his wife’s secret alcoholism had become exposed and the relationship between mother and daughter had become quite destructive. Chapter 8, focuses on the processes of enabling an individual to further differentiate from the family of origin with the many levels of anxiety and depression that accompany this process. The case selected to demonstrate the treatment is a lesbian coming out to her multicultural parents and extended family. In Chapter 9, the dilemmas of the two-paycheck couple struggling with trying to complete the tasks of working and parenting while trying to create a more intimate connection are explored. They are fighting their intergenerational and unconscious messages that impede in their creating more satisfying relationship and quality of life. In Chapter 10, I look at the challenges of the baby boomers and their multiple roles of caretaking (children, parents and grandchildren) to many generations, as well as, dealing with their own changing roles, health and financial issues. Each case is explained session by session, with treatment guide demonstrating goals, interventions and outcomes. Also, the reader will get a session summary including a chart that shows how the theories, concepts and interventions are integrated session by session. In each chapter in Section 2, the context of each specific life cycle case is explored in depth. In the Epilogue, a review of the many new types of modern families that are being created and how AFT can help a therapist enables clients and their families resolve their dilemmas.
The beauty of the AFT model is that the reader can use any systemic model they are familiar with and integrate concepts and interventions from other theories. For readers who want to use the Bowen Family System Therapy as their home theory, this book offers all the pertinent information and explanation to do so. I invite you to read the reviews of nationally and internationally known colleagues that can be found on the Routledge.com(http://www.psypress.com/books/details/9781138775138/) or Amazon.com.
Please enjoy reading my book and I would be happy to receive any comments or questions you may have. You may contact me at [email protected]
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Family Psychology, Context, Life Cycle, Therapy, Differentiation, Parenting, Couple Dilemmas,
Mid-Life Issues, Issues in Military Families
To enable therapists to find means to help clients and their families differentiate through getting to know their individual contributions as well a family patterns that contribute to their dysfunction. To help their clients find ways to change their thinking and behaviors through understanding systemic thinking and how it affects their behaviors. To utilize psychodynamic principles to enable a client to understand the defenses they use to keep them stuck repeating the same dysfunctional behaviors over and over. By using cognitive behavioral interventions and concepts to help an individual change his/her thinking and behaviors. Through learning how to appropriately communicate fostering the integration of new thinking, behaviors and use of defenses to promote differentiation, lowered anxiety and lower emotional reactivity.