Sherry and Phil are an interracial couple. They have been divorced for five years after an eight-year marriage during which Phil was active military and deployed two times. They have two children: Susie (12) and Greg (10). After the second deployment, for support, Sherry moved off base with the children to live closer to her parents. She did not return to the base when Phil returned from his second deployment. Phil was upset; however, he understood and requested reassignment to an overseas post. He has since been discharged and has been struggling to find steady employment. Sherry and Phil divorced soon after Phil’s return to the United States and his military discharge.
Sherry and Phil attempt to co-parent their children and share equal custody but live more than 50 miles from each other. This distance creates transportation challenges for both parents around school activities, sports, and time with friends for the children during visitations.
Both Sherry and Phil were single parents for several years and now each has remarried people with their own children. Sherry and her husband, Jim, who is Caucasian, have full custody of his 17-year-old twin girls. The whereabouts of their mother has been unknown for at least 10 years.
Phil, who is African American, and his wife, Jill, who is Caucasian, share 50 percent custody of Jill’s 5-year-old son with her ex-husband, who is also remarried.
Choose a stage of this family systemâ€”Sherry and Phil’s marriage while he was active duty, Sherry and Phil’s divorce, Sherry and Phil’s single parenthood, Sherry and Phil’s remarriagesâ€”and discuss the challenges faced by both the adults and the children during this time period. Pick one of these challenges, and use it as a presenting problem for the family. As the family’s therapist or counselor, choose a systemic family therapy model, and discuss how you would approach your work with this family in the context of the clinical model.
Address the following in your response:
- The types of questions you will ask according to your model.
- The types of interventions you will develop according to your model.
- The cultural and diversity issues that might arise for the client family and for you as the therapist or counselor.