The Expanded Family Life Cycle: Allyn and Bacon Classics Edition: Individual, Family, and Social Perspectives: An Allyn and Bacon Classics Edition Hardcover – 17 Sep 2004
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From the Back Cover
The Classics Edition of The Expanded Family Life Cycle, with a new foreword by Donald Bloch, continues to provide "a new and more comprehensive way to think about human development and the life cycle," reflecting society's shift away from the nuclear family toward a more diverse and inclusive definition of family. Theory and research are integrated with clinical guidelines and cases by two of the most respected authors, teachers, and clinicians in the field of family therapy―Betty Carter and Monica McGoldrick.
“This text is a classic in the field of family psychology and family therapy. It provides a framework in which current family life cycle stressors, family intergenerational history, and current sociocultural factors are beautifully integrated and applied to an understanding of family functioning. Further, it is one of the few texts I know that can span undergraduate and graduate education, providing information relevant for both beginning and more advanced students. The information is presented clearly and is written by experienced clinicians who supply lots of clinical cases to exemplify the points they are trying to make, resulting in absorbing reading. I have been using this text for the past ten years or so, and plan to use it indefinitely.”
―Leslie Brody, Boston University
“The text's primary theme is diversity. The contents cover a broad range of topics from Latino family life cycle to gay and lesbian life cycle. Issues such as death, migration, violence, and gender add to the breadth and interest of this text and it position it to be useful to many....The text is easy to understand and engaging,...is written with clarity and an excellent balance between knowledge and application. The case illustrations throughout the book are helpful in providing an illustration of the concepts and holding the interest of the reader.”
―Kathleen Briggs, Oklahoma State University
“The text is well written, which makes it a pleasure to read. I find the use of metaphors and analogies very effective....The Adam and Eve reference in the conclusion of chapter one is a favorite quote of mine regarding the timelessness of family violence....The chapter on self in context is particularly valuable. It introduces some key concepts regarding developmental and social issues relevant to gay and lesbian youth that continue throughout the text....The Carter and McGoldrick text is a valuable component of students' foundation studies related to family issues.”
―Margarete Parrish, University of Maryland, Baltimore
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
While I would not go so far as to say that the book contained no useful information, much of the book's potential utility was overshadowed by the authors' transparent political agenda. An example of good clinical advice provided by the authors was to ask wealthy families, in an initial interview, how they are using their funds to help the poor. Coming across with this overtly judgmental and clinically irrelevant question in the first interview is clearly not the way to win over a troubled family.
When studying the book, it was often possible to forget that families seeking therapy may actually have troubles of their own. The articles in the book focused largely on sociopolitical issues. Obviously, one cannot discount the influence of the larger context; however, struggles with gender unfairness in the workplace are rarely the presenting problem which drives an entire family into a therapist's office. Perhaps it was for this reason that focused, practical clinical advice for the budding clinician was nearly absent from many of the articles.
Pragmatics aside, the book was also lacking in terms of scholarship. A variety of grand claims were made by various authors with limited citations to support these claims. Despite the reference lists at the end of each chapter, I found it jarring to read several consecutive paragraphs without footnotes describing, for example, the "typical" presentation of clients from different cultural groups. There was also a surprising tendency on the part of some authors to make detailed references to their personal lives in the article. While anecdotes can certainly be illustrative, they should not serve as the basis of an article.
Overall, I was very disappointed in this book and would not assign it again. While there was some useful information embedded in a few of the articles, on the whole this book attests to the need to keep textbooks agenda-free.
Another huge complaint is how dated the book is. Yes it received a new edition, but most of the academic references are no more recent than 1997 or so, and the cultural references are so horribly out of date (at least 2 references to the Dan Quayle/Murphy Brown controversy in a 2005 book anyone?) that its usefulness is in question. It is unfortunate that there is apparently no better textbook dealing with the family life cycle than this angry, biased, pessimistic, closed-minded and out-dated textbook. There is some good information scattered here and there, but I think most critical thinkers will be working so hard to see it through the political haze they will have a hard time finding it.
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