In the 1990s Dr. Minuchin conceived and led a project to demonstrate a different way to conceptualize and practice foster care. Dr Minuchin envisioned this new system where the agency would allow and encourage the two families to function as they expanded their work on behalf of the child - sharing information and solving problems together. The core strategy of Dr. Minuchin’s project was to capitalize on the natural talents of experienced foster parents, who often go beyond what is required of them by the agencies, and find ways to help the natural parents maintain and develop their relationship with their children during the time their children are in foster care.
This series of sessions showcases Dr. Minuchin’s involvement with children from a homeless family. Dr, Minuchin meets with the family with the goal to empower this family. The family treats Minuchin with a paradoxical combination of openness, suspicion, and passivity. This paradoxical posture is one that the family has learned to assume in response to the constant and uncontrolled entrance and exit of multiple helpers into their lives.
This session with Dr. Minuchin is with the family of a 12-year-old boy who has been hospitalized in a psychiatric unit for children. There are two disturbed systems that Dr. Minuchin addresses in this session. One is the family who needs to change. The other is the psychiatric unit where the child is hospitalized, that in hopes will be perturbed by the intervention.
In 1992, Dr. Salvador Minuchin was invited to consult with a team of mental health professionals involved in the treatment of a 9 year old boy who had been institutionalized for 2 years in psychiatric hospitals. In this video, Dr. Minuchin asserts that the identity of young children is directly connected to their belonging to a group of people, specifically their family, who have created the child’s sense of reality.
This is a blended family in formation in which they are still in a period where there are two subsystems, mother and children and new husband and wife. Joey, the IP, has serious asthma and epilepsy and has behavioral problems at school. Dr. Minuchin works in the direction of creating a new subsystem that includes the spouse of the mother as the father in the family.
Dr. Minuchin presents segments from three cases involving families who were receiving social services provided by government agencies. In these segments we will see how the entrance of well meaning helpers into these families serves to disempower rather than empower the parents, and further disrupts the effective functioning of the family unit.
Dr. Minuchin consults with the family of a 12 year old boy, who had been institutionalized for regressive behaviors, including an overwhelming fear of ghosts. Dr. Minuchin recommends changes to the family’s organization, so that the child can return home and maintain age appropriate behaviors.
Dr. Salvador Minuchin works with a step family seeking assistance with their daughter’s habitual lying. Dr. Minuchin initiates a challenge to the family certainty that the symptom was the daughter’s lying. The shift from daughters as a carrier of lying to the father’s control over the daughter will change through the session, moving to the parent’s control and then to the mother’s control.
In this session, Dr. Minuchin works with a couple who has two children, both of whom are in foster care. This case demonstrates ways in which the involvement of multiple systems of care can cause disorganization in a family, if the systems themselves fail to work in sync. In this case, we meet a mother who struggles with drug addiction, which has impacted her ability to care for her children and family.