Mothers' experience of family therapy : "you're not human, you're Mum : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Work in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at Massey University
The focus of this thesis is the in-depth analysis of the experiences of eight mothers during the therapeutic process known as family therapy. It examines their experiences in the light of theories of the helping process particularly those pertaining to family therapy, counselling and social work. Several strands are woven through the analysis, including the situation of mothers in contemporary society particularly the prevalence of blaming mothers when problems emerge with children, social policy developments since the 1980s which affect family therapy service delivery, and the feminist critique of family therapy. It takes account of the impact of patriarchy on family therapy delivery and contributes to the reflection on family therapy practice by providing the opportunity for mothers to comment about what it is like for them. The standpoint taken is that mothers have knowledge which tends to be rendered invisible by the preferential of expert knowledge of therapists. This thesis emphasises and presents the knowledge of the mothers with the intention of making it visible to all participants in the therapeutic process, both clients and therapists.