This week of the course focuses specifically on the contextual family therapy model, which was developed by Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy. This model was influenced by psychoanalytic theory, however, contextual therapy is considered a distinct type of therapy compared to psychoanalytic family therapy. In Week 4, you were asked to look at psychoanalytic family therapy. This week, you should focus specifically on contextual family therapy. Review chapter 7, paying attention to Nagy’s contextual therapy concepts specifically, plus review the other assigned readings that address contextual family therapy specifically. This model is considered an intergenerational model of therapy but it is different from Bowen’s intergenerational model, which you’ll study in Week 7. 

Additional Materials

Though not required, you are invited to view the following videos of Ivan Boszmormenyi-Nagy providing therapy:

I Would Like to Call You Mother by Ivan Boszmormenyi-Nagy

  1. Session Intro: This session, recorded in 1988 by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and digitally remastered in 2009, features Ivan Boszmormenyi-Nagy conducting a live, unedited therapy session with a family. The featured family includes four generations consisting of a delinquent adolescent, his chronically psychotic mother, grandparents and great-grandmother. Nagy’s model employs multidirected partiality, which includes discussing and acknowledging everyone’s positive contributions to counter their mistrust, blaming and self-defeating invisible loyalties.
  2. Therapist Intro: Ivan Boszmormenyi-Nagy’s (1920-2007) focus on both the issues within the family system and how that system relates to society left a lasting impression on the field of Marriage and Family Therapy. As one of the field’s “Masters,” Nagy called therapists to focus on fairness in families and was best known for developing the contextual approach to family therapy. Trust, loyalty, and mutual support were the focal points of his work.

Video Link Part 1:

Video Link Part 2:

Video Link Part 3:

NOTE: Please use this password – NCU123 â€“ to access the videos.

Instructions regarding AATBS materials, the readings listed below will be found in the following volumes:

  • California Exam Volume II – p. 20, Table 4
  • National Exam Book Volume II – p. 22, Contextual Family Therapy

Be sure to carefully review this week’s resources. You will be expected to apply the information from these resources when you prepare your assignments.

Association for Advanced Training in the Behavioral Sciences (AATBS) materials

See Week introduction for required readings

Gehart, D. R. (2014) Mastering competencies in family therapy

Read Chapter 7 (the part that covers Psychoanalytic Family Therapy; p. 243)

Goldenthal, P. (2005). Helping children and families: A new treatment model integrating psychodynamic, behavioral, and contextual approaches

Read Chapters 1 and 2

Reference Instruction
Fowers, B.J., & Wenger, A. (1997). Are trustworthiness and fairness enough? Contextual family therapy and the good family.

Read Article

Gangamma, R., Bartle-Haring, S., & Glebova, T. (2012). A study of Contextual Therapy Theory’s relational ethics in couples in therapy.

Read Article

Mauldin, G.R., & Anderson, W.T. (1998). Forgiveness as an intervention in contextual family therapy: Two case examples.

Read Article


Carey, B. (2007). Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy, 86, an Innovator of Family Therapy

View Document

Reflect on the Contextual Family Therapy Model

Activity Description

For this assignment, you will write a reflection paper that includes a summary of the constructs from the Contextual Family Therapy model and an application of those concepts to your own (or another person’s if this is too difficult) family of origin. 

Include the following in the model summary:

  1. The major assumptions for change in the contextual approach.
  2. Use your own words to identify, define, and describe the major concepts of the contextual approach.
  3. Address what makes this approach different from some of the other MFT approaches you have studied.
  4. Address what makes it a systems-based approach to treatment.

Include the following in your application of this model to your family of origin:

  1. The important family legacies that are a part of your family of origin
  2. The intergenerational transmission of the family culture
  3. The invisible loyalties that exist in your family of origin
  4. How justice has been applied in your family of origin
  5. How these have impacted your development and that of any siblings, including how you/they exited (grew up) the family of origin
  6. How these concepts, if at all, influence your current life

Length: 5-7 pages

Your reflection paper should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts that are presented in the course and provide new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards.

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Learning Outcomes

2.0   Synthesize specific concepts of the key classic and intergenerational models of therapy.

3.0   Critique classic and intergenerational models of therapy in the professional literature.

4.0   Evaluate the degree to which classic and intergenerational models of family therapy address issues of diversity including, age, culture, spirituality, race, gender, and socioeconomic status.

7.0   Appraise family dynamics in your family of origin and use that knowledge to further your development as a MFT.

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