Presenter: Kathleen B. Kerr, MSN, MA|
When an individual suicides, an anxiety storm sweeps through the family system and overwhelms objectivity. In calmer moments, those involved perceive that many individuals and variables have played a part; but when the pressure is on, the seductive tendency is to explain what has occurred through reductionistic speculations and conclusions. Members of the family system are drawn toward blaming a person, a relationship, a substance, an event, or a simplistic combination of these. The interactive broader picture is lost in the effort to subdue enormous anxiety.
A presentation at a Faculty Clinical Conference in April 2001 is the basis for this presentation of multiple family therapy at a local court┬1s Family Services Unit with three families. Approximately thirty-one years ago, this multiple was established for staff training. Dr. Francis Andres was the consultant who did the multiple. In 1998, the court contacted the Family Center for a new consultant since Dr. Andres was moving from the area. The presenter began doing the multiple in July 1998. It is the only court-sponsored therapy for the families that participate, although they may be doing outside therapy for any number of reasons. It is exciting to see how the multiple format potentiates change in three families who are making substantive change in their functional if not basic level of self.