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Episode Info: On this episode of the Make a Mental Note podcast, Neil Brown, a licensed clinical social worker, discusses the characteristics of family conflict and what families can do to improve their relationships. Give it a listen and find out why this episode is worthy of a mental note!  Get the show notes on the "Make a Mental Note" page at Click here to subscribe to the Make a Mental Note podcast: Mental Notes: * Families that seek therapy have developed dysfunctional patterns of interaction that are both invisible and enduring. They don’t see the pattern, but are experiencing the impact of it. * Each member in the family needs to own responsibility for their participation in the dysfunctional pattern and for changing the pattern. Otherwise, one family member will blame another family member for the problem and the problem will persist. A teenager may say, “The problem is my parents. They’re too oppressive and controlling. I have to do what I’m doing as a way to fight their control.” Then parents will say, “Well, we have to be controlling because my kid won’t use self-control.” The key is to help the parent and the teen (and other family members) develop an alliance against the pattern. * The negative interactional pattern is personified as “the beast” in Neil’s book and he invites families to “starve the beast.” He encourages families to look at parental and child behaviors (and sometimes interactions between the parents) that are nutrients that sustain the beast. * Helping families look at “beast feeding” behaviors/patterns of interaction and “beast starving” behaviors/patterns of interactions is what family therapy is all about. In some cases, it’s like a game in which the family comes up with ways and puts into motion solutions to “starve the beast.” The idea is to create a common enemy that the family can fight against. * Helping families discontinue blaming and finding fault with one another is key. * Prescription – therapists “prescribe” things for families to do to help them move forward/make positive changes in how they interact with one another. * One cha
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