Re-Visioning Family Therapy: Addressing Diversity in Clinical Practice

Description: McGoldrick & Hardy have done it again with this third edition of their book on family therapy. As excellent as the first two editions (1998 and 2008), this update is needed because of all the multicultural changes we see around us. The book addresses the intersection of the practice of family therapy with aspects of diversity as gender, class, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, spirituality and religion.

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Review of

Re-Visioning Family Therapy: Addressing Diversity in Clinical Practice,

3rd Edition, Guilford Press, 2019.

ISBN: 978-1-4625-3193-6, 614 pages, $75 list price


Four Stars:


Ileana Unqureanu, MD, PhD, LMFT (Adler School of Professional Psychology)

Purpose: According to the authors, the book is meant to explore in an intimate way the lives of families who are affected by oppressive societal structures and ideologies, as a way to inform the clinical practice of family therapy. This is a very important aspect that is sometimes missed in other scholarly works that are more traditional. The book meets and exceeds its declared goals!

Audience: Clearly written with practitioners in mind, this is an excellent guide for students training to become family therapists at the master’s or doctoral level. It is also invaluable for clinicians in the trenches working with marginalized populations, deeply wounded by the systemic oppression described in the book. The authors are more than well known nationally and internationally in the field of family therapy; they are living legends and role models for past and future generations of clinicians working with families.

Features: The book covers the multiple aspects of identity and how they are intimately shaped at the intersection of person, context and the larger society. Social class, poverty, gender, racial identity, and religion are just a few of the diversity describers that the multiple contributors examine. The importance of all these aspects for training and supervision is emphasized and discussed. A special chapter is dedicated to working with the larger systems. An important and unique characteristic of this book is the exploration of the self-of-the-therapist, the look in the mirror to identify parts of the self that were marginalized or the opposite, privileged, and how those experiences of privilege and/or oppression influence the clinical practice of family therapy.

Assessment: This is a very important and timely book in the present systemic, convoluted complicated and at the brink of change climate! Going through and beyond the theoretical and research aspects of family therapy, to the core and soul of working with each unique family system, especially with those whose voices have been hidden from history.” (p. xi) this work is as much a textbook as it is a reflective tool for all those daring to help families in this day and age. It’s an invitation to revisioning and revising again andagain what we think we know about others and ourselves.


Comments on the 2nd Edition:

This groundbreaking practitioner guide and widely adopted text illuminates how racism, sexism and other forms of oppression constrain the lives of diverse clients—and family therapy itself. Leading thinkers and therapists provide powerful tools for expanding the boundaries of the field and working toward truly inclusive clinical practice. Highly readable and engaging, this book integrates theoretical exposition with case vignettes and evocative autobiographical narratives. It reveals the experiences, challenges, wisdom and struggles of people whose voices are not often heard in the mainstream literature, including racial minority, intercultural, poor, immigrant and LGBT families. Contributors discuss the impact of societal discrimination on family relaitonships, while at the same time exposing the biases that underlie prevailing conceptions of family health and pathology. Concrete suggestions are offered for tapping into clients’ cultural resources and conducting culturally competive assessment.

Review of this book:
McGoldrick and her colleagues have again pushed the boundaries of family therapy with this splendid, updated second edition. Here is a vision of family therapy that embraces the lived complexity of diversity, addressing the intersection of race, ethnicity, class, gender, national origin, religion, and spirituality and sexual orientation. The expanded section on therapists’ own cultural legacies and stories will stimulate self-reflection that is critical to developing cultural competence, while increased attention to training will aid students and teachers alike in grounding this vision in practice. I highly recommend this text as a complement to Ethnicity and Family Therapy, third edition.
–Francis G. Lu, MD.
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco.

McGoldrick and Hardy lead a wise council of practitioners to construct a vision of family thatapy that is culturally and socially grounded. Rather than portraying individual cultural groups, the text addresses nuanced processes in understanding and working with difference in ways that broaden traditional conceptualizations and practices. This text will make a wonderful contribution to graduate courses addressing family treatment in all mental health related disciplines.
–Steven R. Lopez, PhD.
Department of Psychology, University of Southern California.