The Challenging Certainties collection features the only three remaining tapes of the 1982 Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic featuring Carl Whitaker, Virginia Satir, and Dr. Minuchin as they develop their idiosyncratic styles as family therapists. Two of the sessions feature the same family, of a boy who attempted suicide,
seen by Salvador Minuchin the first day and by Carl Whitaker the next day. The third tape is of Virginia Satir’s session with a case of two divorced parents mediating the custody of their son.
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.
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. 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 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.
Dr. Minuchin’s supervision of Wai-Yung Lee in her sessions with a family consisting of a father, mother, and two young men. The youngest was born with down-syndrome, and has recently shared his displeasure with the family by smearing feces in the bathroom.. Wai-Yung Lee follows up from their supervision 25 years later to reflect on the transformation of her style as a family therapist based on Minuchin’s supervision.
A family presents their 17-year-old daughter who attempted suicide to Dr. Minuchin. Minuchin discovers from the father that he and his wife have been psychologically divorced since the birth of the daughter, and the mother states that she still feels single. Exploring the spouse and parental subsystems gives a map of the family. Minuchin attempts to construct an alternative family organization in which the adolescent children form a healing subsystem.