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Theoretical Foundations of Family Mediation Essay

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Updated: Nov 20th, 2019


The family is a vital social organization. Members of one family grow to develop a very close bond with each other. This makes the members seek each other’s psychological, social and economic support among other things. People in the family find comfort in each other’s company, and the separation or death of one member affects other members in adverse manners. Sally is a minor who is still undergoing emotional development.

Her mother has left home to stay with Sally’s grandparents, and this has a great toll on Sally. Sally is affected by this, and she seeks to change her lifestyle. Evidently, she has started losing faith in the family institution, and she wants to move out. This gets her in to trouble with her father, her school grades starts dropping, and she starts to lose friends. Sally needs to be helped out of this situation; she needs to be guided to accept the state of things and lead a life that will not hurt her.

Theories of Assessing this Conflict

One of the theories that can be used to assess the conflict between Sally and bob is Family Systems Theory proposed by Dr. Bowen. This theory takes the family as a unit, and it says that people are best understood in the context of their families. He classifies the family as an emotional unit whose members share an emotional bond. A member of this unit cannot be studied in isolation; understanding one member of this unit will not be possible without considering other family members (Folberg, Milne & Salem, 2004).

Bowen says that every member of a family has a role to play so as to maintain a harmonious relationship with other members. The other members will respond to each other according to the roles assigned to them. These roles are given according to the family relationship agreements. Therefore, based on this interaction, the behavior of one member of the family is shaped by the interaction with other members (Regina, 2011).

The failure of one member can lead to the collapse of the whole family. Bowel comes up with some concepts that interlock to support this theory. These concepts act as a basis for understanding the relationships among family members, and each member is assigned a place in the family. When a member’s place in the family is toppled, conflicts occur (Taylor, 2002).

In Bob and Sally’s case, the problem occurs since the role that Sally’s mother used to play has been left open. The father is trying hard to maintain a stable relationship with the daughter, but he is unable to fill the vacuum left by the mother. This has a great impact on Sally, and Sally feels that she no longer fits in the family; she wants to move out. Probably, the father does not know about this theory of family conflicts, and he does not understand Sally’s reaction.

Sally has been affected by the separation between the mother and father. She is used to staying with both parents, and she cannot stand the separation. This proves Bowen’s theory by showing that members of the family are much connected with each other.

Sally’s pattern of behavior, including failure in school and loss of friends, is triggered by the instability in her family. She does not see her mother as frequently as she used to do, and she feels that moving out of her house will solve her problems. She feels that she will lose nothing since her mother has also left the home.

Analysis of the Problems

The main problem between Bob and Sally is the lack of proper communication. Sally could be secretly blaming her father for her mother’s withdrawal from home. Bob is trying to save the situation by trying to be a good father, but he fails in that he is unable to talk to her daughter about the things disturbing her. Therefore, the daughter, Sally, has reacted to this by resulting to her own decisions to move out of the family.

Sally is very disturbed about her mother’s departure, and this has a very big impact on her. It is important to note that Sally is still undergoing emotional development, and any disagreement with parents can be disastrous to her. She feels the loss of her parents’ love for her, and she goes to seek love from other people. It is critical to note that Sally’s friends are now people much older than her.

Sally’s father also feels that Sally is unrealistic; she should appreciate what he has to offer her, and she should not make things difficult for him. He loves her and wants the best for her. That is the reason that makes him deny her the chance of staying with these friends; he figures out that she could drop out of school. His claims could be justified since Sally has already started failing in school.

Things to Do as a Mediator

The people involved in this conflict have problems that they are facing differently. The best thing to do is make these people come in to terms with heir situation. This way, they understand each other, and the conflicts will cease. Developing dialogue will be a major step towards reconciling the members once again. The parents need to be there for Sally, and this will ensure a productive relationship among all family members.


Folberg, J., Milne, A., & Salem, P. (2004). Divorce and Family Mediation: Models, Techniques, and Applications. New York: Guilford Press.

Regina, W. (2011). Applying Family Systems Theory to Mediation: A Practitioner’s Guide. New York: University Press of America.

Taylor, A. (2002). The Handbook of Family Dispute Resolution: Mediation Theory and Practice. San Francisco: Josse-Bass.

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