Inside Family Therapy: A Case Study in Family Healing NASW approved.

Course Outline

Follow a family therapist’s narrative diary as he documents the process of working with the Salazars, as they explore each stage of their relationship- from courtship through the departure of the children from the home.

This unique casebook provides an in-depth, personal account from the counselor’s perspective, while also looking at the personal viewpoints of family members. Each major stage of the family’s life is presented in a separate chapter and the book includes discussions of the effects of gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation on individuals and families.

About Authors

Michael P. Nichols
Department of Psychology, College of William and Mary


Name: Michael P. Nichols
Office Address: Department of Psychology
P.O. Box 8795
College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
(757) 221-3883
Home Address: 118 Crown Point Road
Williamsburg, VA 23185
(757) 229-3028
2. Position: Professor, Department of Psychology


3. Academic degrees, institutions and dates

Training with Salvador Minuchin 1991, 1990, 1975, 1974
Lenox Hill Psychoanalytic, New York 1982-1985
Postdoctoral Training with Murray Bowen, Washington, DC 198l, 1982
Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic, Summers:1975, 1976, 1978
Postdoctoral Training in Family Therapy (United States Army 1968-1970)
University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, Ph.D. 1967-1973
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, B.A. 1965-1967
Ripon College, Ripon, Wisconsin 1963-1965


4. Teaching and Research Positions, including dates

Professor of Psychology 1996-present
Associate Professor of Psychology 1994-1995
College of William and Mary

Professor of Psychiatry, Albany Medical College
(Director of Outpatient Psychiatry, Director of Family Therapy Training) 1985-1994

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Albany Medical College
(Director Psychology Internship,Director of Family Therapy Training) 1977-1985

Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 1973-1977
Acting Director of Clinical Training. 1976

Instructor, Psychology Department, University of Rochester 1972-1973

Clinical psychologist, U.S. Army, Human Engineering Laboratories, Aberdeen, Maryland 1968-1970


5. Professional prizes, awards, honors, editorial positions on scholarly journals, service on review boards outside the College, and office in professional societies.

Editorial Board, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 2001
Distinguished teaching awards, Emory University
Distinguished Service Award, Albany Medical College 1994
Visiting Professor, Smith College 1991-92, 1993-94
Distinguished teaching awards, Albany Medical College
Hardy Chair in Sociology
Distinguished Service Award, New York State Psychological Association
Site visitor, Accreditation Committee, American Psychological Association
Contributing Editor, The Family Therapy Networker
Editorial Board, Family Process
Family Therapy Series Editor, Guilford Press


6. Courses taught

Family therapy, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, Freudian theory, self psychology, abnormal psychology, personality theory, elementary statistics, the psychology of shame, psychological testing, sex education, group therapy, psychotherapy supervision, family therapy supervision.


7. a) All fellowships, grants, contracts, etc., awarded by outside agencies. Specify dates, sources, and amounts

Consultant, Child and Family Services, Albany, N.Y. 1993–
Consultant, Al-Care, Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation, Albany, N.Y. 1985
Consultant, Northeast Parent & Child Association, Schenectady, N.Y. 1982-1990
Consultant, Episcopal Counseling Service, Albany, N.Y. 1980–
Consultant, Parsons Child and Family Services, Albany, N.Y. 1977-1980
Consultant, Upward Bound. 1974-1977
Consultant, Department of Corrections, State of Georgia. 1975
Consultant, Aid to Offenders. 1974-1977
b) All summer grants and Faculty Research Assignments received from William and Mary with dates awarded.


8. Scholarly activity under the following separate headings with full bibliographic data (include page numbers):

a) refereed publications, articles and chapters

Allen-Eckert, H., Fong, E., Nichols, M.P., Watson, N., & Liddle, H. A. Development of the Family Therapy Enactment Rating Scale. Family Process, 2001, 40: 467-476.

Nichols, M.P. & Fellenberg, S. The effective use of enactments in family therapy: A discovery-oriented process study. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 2000, 26: 143-152.

Nichols, M.P. & Rohrbaugh, M.J. Why do women demand and men withdraw? The role of outside career and family involvements. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 1997, 5 (2), 111-119.

Nichols, M.P. The art of enactment. The Family Therapy Networker, 1997, 21 (6) 23.

Nichols, M.P. The therapist as authority figure. Family Process, 1993.

Nichols, M.P. Finding the family and losing the self. In D. Capps & R.K. Fenn (Eds.) Individualism Reconsidered: Readings Bearing on the Endangered Self in Modern Society. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Theological Seminary, 1992.

Nichols, M.P. Deconstructing gender. The Family Therapy Networker, 1991, 15, (1), 81-82.

Nichols, M.P. Savoring the short story. The Family Therapy Networker, 1990, 14, (5), 19-20.

Nichols, M.P. Rewriting lives. The Family Therapy Networker, 1990, 14, (3), 81-83.

Nichols, M.P. Musings and methodologies. The Family Therapy Networker, 1990, 14, (2), 81-85.

Nichols, M.P. Middle-class anxieties and the decline of liberalism. The Family Therapy Networker, 1990, 14, (1), 65-68.

Nichols, M.P. Family therapists are beginning to ask the old-fashioned question “Why?” The Family Therapy Networker, 1989, 13, (6), 75-78.

Nichols, M.P. Legacy of shame. The Family Therapy Networker, 1989, 13, (5), 81-82.

Nichols, M.P. At the head of their class. The Family Therapy Networker, 1987, 11, (6), 69-71.

Nichols, M.P. The individual in the system. The Family Therapy Networker, 1987, 11, (2), 32-38, 85.

Nichols, M.P. The fox and the bear. The Family Therapy Networker, 1987, 11, (1), 59-62.

Nichols, M.P. A bridge too far? The Family Therapy Networker, 1986, 10, (4), 54-57.

Nichols, M.P. The politics of control. The Family Therapy Networker, 1986, 10, (2), 69-72.

Nichols, M.P. Checking our biases. The Family Therapy Networker, 1985, 9, (6), 75-77.

Nichols, M.P. Explaining ourselves. The Family Therapy Networker, 1985, 9, (5), 57-60.

Nichols, M.P. Introduction to psychodynamic technique. Chapter in Nichols, M.P. & Paolino, T.J. (Eds.) Basic Techniques of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: Foundations of Clinical Practice. New York: Gardner Press, 1985.

Nichols, M.P. Catharsis: History and theory. Chapter in Nichols & Paolino (above).

Nichols, M.P. & Kolb, L.C. Catharsis: Clinical application. Chapter in Nichols & Paolino (above).

Friedlander, M., Thibodeau, J., Nichols, M.P., Tucker, C. & Synder, J. Introducing semantic cohesion analysis: A study of group talk. Small Group Behavior, 1985, 16, 285-302.

Nichols, M.P. & Efran, J. Catharsis in psychotherapy: A new perspective. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 1985, 22, 46-58.

Ellis, E. & Nichols, M.P. Outcome of feminist assertive training groups. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 1979, 16, 467-474.

Nichols, M.P. & Bierenbaum, H. Success of cathartic therapy as a function of patient variables. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1978, 34, 726-728.

Burton C.A. & Nichols, M.P. The Behavioral Target Complaints Form: A nonreactive measure of psychotherapeutic outcome. Psychological Reports, 1978, 42, 219-226.

Nichols, M.P. & Knopf, I. J. Refining computerized test interpretation: An in-depth approach. Journal of Personality Assessment, 1977, 41, 157-159.

Nichols, M.P. The delayed impact of group therapists’ interventions. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1977, 33, 258-262.

Nichols, M.P. & Duke, M.P. Cognitive dissonance and locus of control: Interface of two paradigms. Journal of Social Psychology, 1977, 101, 291-297.

Bierenbaum, H., Nichols, M.P. & Schwartz, A.J. The effects of varying session length and frequency in brief emotive psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1976, 44, 790-798.

Nichols, M.P. Methodology for evaluating the therapist’s influence on the process of group therapy. Journal of the American College Health Association, 1975, 42, 8-12.

Nichols, M.P. & Taylor, T.Y. Impact of therapist interventions on early sessions of group therapy. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1975, 31, 726-729.

Nichols, M.P. The Personal Satisfaction Form as a measure of pyschotherapeutic outcome. Psychological Reports, 1975, 36, 856-858.

Nichols, M.P. Outcome of brief cathartic therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1974, 42, 403-410.

Reprinted in Human Behavior, December, 1974.
Reprinted in Psychotherapy and Behavior Change, 1974.
Nichols, M.P. & Reifler, C.B. The study of brief psychotherapy in a college health setting. Journal of the American College Health Association, 1973, 22, 128-133.

Nichols, M.P., Gordon, T.P. & Levine, M.D. Development and validation of the Life Style Questionnaire. Journal of Social Psychology, 1972, 86, 121-125.

b) books written

Nichols, M.P. & Schwartz, R.C. Family Therapy: Concepts & Methods, 5th Edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2001.

Nichols, M.P. The Essentials of Family Therapy. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2001.

Nichols, M.P. & Schwartz, R.C. Family Therapy: Concepts & Methods, 4th Edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1998.

Nichols, M.P. The Lost Art of Listening. New York: Guilford Press, 1995.

Nichols, M.P. & Schwartz, R.C. Family Therapy: Concepts & Methods, 3rd Edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1994.

Minuchin, S. & Nichols, M.P. Family Healing: Tales of Hope and Renewal From Family Therapy. New York: The Free Press, 1993.

reprinted by Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1994
Nichols, M.P. & Schwartz, R.C. Family Therapy: Concepts & Methods, 2nd Edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 199l.

Nichols, M.P. No Place to Hide: Facing Shame So We Can Find Self-Respect. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991.

Reprinted by Fireside/Simon & Schuster, 1992.
Nichols, M.P. The Power of the Family. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.

Reprinted by Fireside/Simon & Schuster.
Reprinted by Gardner Press as The Power of Family Thearpy.
Nichols, M.P. The Self in the System: Expanding the Limits of Family Therapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1987.

Nichols, M.P. Turning Forty in the Eighties. New York: Norton, 1986.

Reprinted by Fireside/Simon & Schuster, 1987.
Nichols, M.P. Family Therapy: Concepts & Methods. New York: Gardner Press, 1984.

Pierce, R.A., Nichols, M.P. & DuBrin, J.R. Emotional Expression in Psychotherapy. New York: Gardner Press, 1983.

Nichols, M.P. & Zax, M. Catharsis in Psychotherapy. New York: Gardner Press, 1977.

c) edited volumes

Nichols, M.P. & Paolino, T.J. (Eds.) Basic Techniques of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: Foundations of Clinical Practice. New York: Gardner Press, 1985.

d) invited scholarly papers and talks

Nichols, M.P. Some irreverent comment on the limits of family therapy. Invited article. Journal of Family Psychology, 1989, 2, (4), 422-425.

Workshops, invited addresses, and convention talks — frequently and throughout North America, Costa Rica and Peurto Rico on a variety of subjects.
e) unrefereed publications

Nichols, M.P. Intimate partnership. Hudson Valley Magazine, January 1994.

Nichols, M.P. Will running ruin your marriage? The Pacesetter, 1984, April.


9. Professional Service Activities

a) college committee service

Numerous committees at Rochester, Emory and Albany Medical College.

Admissions Committee, Psychology Department, College of William and Mary

(b) Other professional service

Voluntary Consultant to public counselors, Albany, N.Y. 1990-1994
Member Health and Social Services Advisory Committee, Atlanta Regional Commission, Atlanta, Georgia. 1975-1977
Consultant and Supervisor of Counseling Services, St. Matthews Community Youth Services, Rochester, N.Y. 1972-1973
Consultant to University of Rochester Chaplains. 1972-1973
Leader, sex education groups for college students. 1971-1972
Leader, Interracial Dialogues, Harford County, Md. 1969
Counselor, Neighborhood Youth Corps, Chicago. Counseling black gang leaders.

Learning Objectives

  1. Discuss the problem of certain family members not coming to therapy.
  2. Discuss Mrs. Salazar’s description of Jason’s behavior.
  3. State Heather’s behavior when Jason and his parents argue.
  4. Discuss the conflict between Mr. and Mrs. Salazar.
  5. Compare linear causality and circular causality.
  6. Discuss circular thinking and why the cycle is triangular.
  7. Define homeostasis.
  8. Discuss the therapist’s goal with the Salazar family.
  9. Describe problem solving in a therapy session.
  10. List three ominous symptoms in a small child.
  11. Define dyadic.
  12. Describe the reactance theory.
  13. Discuss falling in love and marriage.
  14. Discuss one advantage of being in therapy.
  15. Describe polarization
  16. State how partners can better understand their differences.
  17. Define idealization and reaction-formation.
  18. Define mirroring and identification.
  19. Discuss accommodation.
  20. Compare behavioral and emotional boundaries.
  21. Define enmeshment and disengagement.
  22. Discuss ways to succeed as a couple.
  23. State how a new couple can function effectively.
  24. State one of the greatest mistakes people make in love.
  25. Compare fusion and differentiation.
  26. State the two benefits of incalculable value regarding working on relationships with parents.
  27. Describe postpartum depression.
  28. List the two qualities that persist in children from the first birthday onward, according to Kagan.
  29. List two things young parents don’t like about grandparents.
  30. Describe reciprocity.
  31. Define rules hypothesis.
  32. Compare the first-order change and second-order change.
  33. Describe subsystems.
  34. Compare enmesh and disengage.
  35. State the goal of the therapist for families with misbehaving children.
  36. Compare a complementary and symmetrical marriage.
  37. Describe monadic, dyadic, and triadic.
  38. Compare pursuers and distancers.
  39. Describe typecasting.
  40. State the best thing for parents to do when children argue.
  41. Discuss statistics regarding infidelity.
  42. Define commitment and ways to move on after infidelity.
  43. Describe divorce.
  44. Describe the three phases of separation.
  45. Discuss the relationship between children and stepparents.
  46. Discuss how parents can deal with teen behavior.
  47. List signs and symptoms of a child who is in trouble.
  48. State how parents can influence adolescent children.
  49. State the two reasons for seeing children alone.
  50. List the steps of an assessment.
  51. State the reasons young adults return to the nest.

Course Contents

1. Disturbing the Peace
  • “Can You Help us?”
  • Looking for Leverage
  • Dialogue: Setting the System in Motion
  • It Must Be a Marital Problem
  • Linear versus Circular Causality
2. The Making of a Family Therapist
  • Behind the One-Way Mirror
3. Love’s Young Dream
  • “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine”
  • “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”
  • “I Do”
4. The Progress of Love
  • “Why Are You So Mean to Me?”
  • Idealization
  • Accommodation
  • Boundaries
  • How to Succeed as a Couple by Really Trying
5. In-laws
  • “Alone at Last”
  • Invaders from Another Planet
  • Accommodation and Boundary-Making with the In-Laws
  • Invisible Loyalties
  • Past Tense and Imperfect Future
6. The Depressed Young Mother
  • The Impossible Job
  • The Family Life Cycle 2+1=2
  • Heather’s Birth
  • The Young and the Restless
  • Renegotiation Boundaries with Grandparents
  • Reciprocity
  • Bitter Fruit
7. Why Can’t Jason Behave?
  • Fix My Child without Disturbing Me
  • Family Rules
  • Family Structure
  • The Structural Model
  • Blueprint for a Healthy Family
  • Uncovering the Structure in a Family
  • Building Children’s Self-Esteem
8. The Overinvolved Mother and Peripheral Father
  • The Need to Restructure the Family
  • Shared Parenting
  • The Best of Intentions
  • Pursuers and Distancers
  • Self-Defeating Cycles
9. Family Feud
  • Sibling Rivalry
  • Enmeshment
  • Disengagement
  • Brotherhood and Sisterhood
10. Loss of Innocence
  • To Tell or Not to Tell, That is the Question
  • All Hell Breaks Loose
  • “Why, Why, Why?”
  • Moving On
11. Divorce, Remarriage, and Stepparenting
  • Families in Transition
  • Uncoupling
  • Reorganizing
  • Blending
12. Sex, Drugs, and Rock “N” Role: The Rebellious Teenager
  • That Awful, Awkward Age
  • How Worried Should Parents Be about Their Teenagers?
  • The Terrible Teens
13. The Salazars’ Family Therapy
  • Shifting Boundaries
  • All Together Again, and Out
  • Notes on Technique
14. Letting Go
  • “It’s the End of Our Family”
  • The Long Good-Bye
  • Boomerang Kids
  • “Under Certain Conditions”