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This article is one of a series on
professional counseling, coaching, and therapy with (a) low-nurturance
(dysfunctional) families and with (b) typical
and trauma. These articles for
professionals are under construction.
This series assumes you're familiar with:
Before continuing, pause and reflect - why are you reading this article?
What do you
+ + +
article is one of a series on effective clinical interventions with
low-nurturance family clients. A "low nurturance family" is one in which members
seldom get their
met in wholistically-healthy ways. An
effective intervention is an instinctive or intentional behavior of the
clinician which significantly raises the family's nurturance level in the
opinion of all involved. This article covers...
preparations needed to get the most from these interventions
explanation of why Lesson 7 exists,
basic Lesson 7 interventions, and
special Lesson 7 interventions
the most from this article, first read:
Does Lesson 7 Exist?
this introduction to professional family
clinicians and educators,
this slide presentation on the
[wounds + unawareness] cycle
that is a root stressor with typical low-nurturance families (best viewed
with Internet Explorer or Netscape browsers)..
this overview of the clinical model on which
these articles are based;
this summary of
for effective professional service with these clients;
scan these terms which are liberally used
throughout these clinical articles;
this overview of effective clinical assessment
client families; and...
this introduction to effective interventions with
low-nurturance families and individuals recovering from psychological
this overview of Lesson 7, and scan
(a) this Lesson 7 link-index and (b)
the table of contents of the
Lesson 7 guidebook "Build a Co-parenting Team after Divorce and
This model focuses on providing effective clinical service to typical divorcing
families, stepfamilies, and wounded persons recovering from childhood neglect
and trauma. "Effective clinical service"
with all clients aims to raise their family's nurturance level -
i.e. to help their family adults successfully fill the primary needs of all
their members much of the time. Typically, divorcing co-parents and stepfamily
co-parents have trouble forming a cooperative, harmonious team in and between
their related homes. This trouble can come from...
significant "unfinished business" (nurturance barriers) between divorcing
parents, and/or (b) incomplete grief from losses (broken bonds) related to
divorce and/or a prior mate's death;
adults being unable to communicate and problem-solve effectively as
co-parenting teammates; and/or...
adults not understanding stepfamily norms and realities, including the
special adjustment needs of typical minor kids, stepparents, and relatives.
Basic Lesson 7 Interventions
with typical divorcing-family and stepfamily clients. The overall goal of
these interventions is to (a) inform family adults on their nurturance-level and
it's impacts, (b) inform them on their options as nurturing teammates, and (c)
facilitate their raising their cooperation and family's nurturance level over
The several steps and options comprising each intervention are outlined below.
symbol below indicates a handout useful for client homework.
Note that most handouts below are integrated in the
guidebook "Build a Co-parenting Team after divorce and remarriage,"' by
Peter Gerlach, MSW (Xlibris, 2001)
Propose that families exist to fill
members' needs, and explain the concept of nurturance levels.
Review typical minor kids' needs and how to assess kids'
Review participating adults' definition of who belongs
to their family - Option - review their genogram (Project
clients to assess their family's nurturance level, and discuss
the results. Option - review the client-family's current
Propose that families exist to fill members'
needs, and explain the concept of
a) Review the concept of human surface and primary needs (mental,
emotional, spiritual, and bodily discomforts) as appropriate
b) As appropriate, review and discuss the premise that families
exist because they are most likely to fill members' primary needs well
enough, often enough;
c) Propose or refresh the clients on the concept of a family
nurturance level (low to high), and discuss as appropriate.
2) Review the concept of a
personal and family developmental cycle
a) Review and this article
as appropriate. Option - ask clients to identify where they are on
the cycle. Options - if the client is a stepfamily, review these
articles on stepfamily mergers, typical
merger-adjustment tasks, and managing major family-system changes. Then
discuss where the family is in their biofamily merger-adjustment process.
b) Review the concept of
surface and primary
(mental, emotional, spiritual, and bodily discomforts) as appropriate
(see Lesson 2 interventions)
minor kids' typical needs, how to assess
a) Review and discuss typical
minor kids' developmental needs
b) Review bonding, loss, and
healthy-grief basics as appropriate (Lesson 3 interventions)
c) Review and discuss typical
kids' family-adjustment needs
& to (a)
parental death or divorce and (b) re/marriage (stepfamily formation)
3) Review typical family adult
developmental and family-adjustment needs as appropriate
a) Review typical
co-parent develpmental needs
Review typical primary-partner needs
Review typical co-parent family-adjustment
needs during biofamily reorganization (e.g. separation and divorce, adult
dating, and stepfamily commitment and cohabiting)
3) Review participating clients'
definition of who belongs to their
4) Invite the participating adults to
assess their family's recent nurturance
level, and discuss the results.
Lesson 7 Interventions