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Families in Motion

Families in Motion
Dynamics in Diverse Contexts

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Other Titles in:
Family Studies (General)

February 2020 | 440 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Dynamics of the family can be seen as a complex set of interrelated cogs, like the dials and wheels within a sophisticated timepiece. Families in Motion: Dynamics in Diverse Contexts is a clear, comprehensive, and contextual view of how the dials and wheels of that complex set work together. With a focus on multicultural competence through diverse contexts and examples, this new text explores the complexities of the family regarding roles, functions, and development in a way that is approachable for students. Grounded in theory and using 40 years of academic experience, author Clara Gerhardt guides readers through concepts of family theories and examines the ever-changing movement, communication, and conditions of both the family as a system and each member within the system. Covering approaches from the theoretical to the therapeutic, Families in Motion helps students practice multicultural competence while understanding families and their members with greater confidence. 

Part I: The Dynamic Family System
Chapter 1: Family Dynamics: Setting Families in Motion
Family Dynamics: Meaning  
Lifespan Development and Family Dynamics  
Why Study Family Dynamics?  
Defining Families  
Census Definitions  
Diverse Families  
The Family as a System  
Functions of the Family  
Spotlight on Theories: Theories, Psychoanalysis and Family Dynamics  
Chapter 2: Dimensions That Influence Dynamics
Tasks, Structure, and Context  
The Influences on Dynamics  
The Choreography of the Family Dance  
Patterns of Family Interaction  
Spotlight on Theories: Family Dynamics and Ecological Systems Theory  
Chapter 3: Dynamic Family Commitments
The Circle of Safety  
Launching and Landing  
The Family Orchestra  
Shaping the Dynamics of the System  
Dysfunctional Families  
Spotlight on Theories: Family Systems Theory  
Chapter 4: Observing Dynamics in Motion
Observing Families  
Making Dynamics Visible  
Cultural Constructions of the Family  
Family Interventions  
Working with Families  
Spotlight on Theories: Natural Systems Theory (Bowen Theory)  
Chapter 5: Explaining Dynamics with Theories
Theories: Seeking Connection and Meaning  
Birth of the Family Therapy Movement  
Major Theoretical Paradigm Shifts  
The Context of Systemic Thinking  
Spotlight on Theories: The Evolutionary Path of Major Theoretical Approaches  
Part II: The Dynamic Language of the Family
Chapter 6: Communication and Family Relationship
Reaching Out and Connecting  
Emotional Interactions  
Power and Patterns of Decision Making  
Communication in Multicultural Contexts  
Cultural Echoes: Nuances in Communication  
Spotlight on Theories: Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT)  
Chapter 7: Communication and Control
Family Scripts  
The Power of Disinformation  
Family Secrets  
Secrets: Shame and Pain  
Professional and Work Related Communication  
Spotlight on Theories: Communication Privacy Management (CPM) Theory  
Chapter 8: Changing Communication Patterns
Families in a Digital World  
Dynamics of a Digital World  
Family Rituals in a Digital World  
Family Communication Networks  
Spotlight on Theories: Family Communication Patterns Theory  
Chapter 9: Communication and Resilience
The Pillars of Resilience  
Resilience and Self-Regulation  
Resilience on Various Systemic Levels  
Spotlight on Theories: Theory of Resilience and Relational Load (TRRL)  
Theoretical Approach  
Evaluation of this Theory  
Chapter 10: Communication and Life's Journey
Families: Constant Yet Ever Changing  
Dynamics of Partner Selection  
Transitions and Turning Points  
Lifespan Related Theories  
Spotlight on Theories: Relational Dialectics Theory  
Part III: Dynamics in Diverse Contexts
Chapter 11: Dynamics of Loss
Grief and Mourning  
Spotlight on Interventions  
Loss in Limbo: Ambiguous Loss  
Narrative Therapy  
Grief Support  
Spotlight on Theories: Stage, Task, and Process Based Models  
Chapter 12: Dynamics of Power and Excess
The Dynamics of Power  
The Dynamics of Excess  
Dynamics of Collecting  
From Collecting to Hoarding  
The Addicted System  
Spotlight on Theories: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy  
Chapter 13: Dynamics of Family Structure and Transitions
Individual Families  
Intergenerational Relationships  
The Single-Child Family System  
Variations in Family Structure  
Blended Families  
Family Transitions  
Healthy Families  
Spotlight on Theories: Approaches Addressing Transitions  
Chapter 14: Dynamics of Culture and Change
Culture and Change  
Dynamics of International Families  
Dynamics of Assimilation  
Culture and Communication  
Enculturation and Acculturation  
Spotlight on Theories: Anxiety-Uncertainty Management Theory  
Chapter 15: Dynamics of Happiness
The Intentionality of Happiness  
Dynamics of Spiritual Development  
Education and Public Policy  
Family Connections and Ritual  
Spotlight on Theories: Positive Psychology  


Instructor Resource Site

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:


  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility in creating a multimedia presentation.
  • Test banks provide a range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit and/or insert personalized questions to assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Carefully selected chapter-by-chapter video links and multimedia content enhance classroom-based explorations of key topics.

Families in Motion is a critical exploration of family issues and dynamics. It goes beyond definitions and stats and offers a more nuanced understanding of what's going on in families.”

Rhonda Buckley
Texas Woman's University

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ISBN: 9781544329208