Family Therapy

Ideally, a family is where people get immediate love, care, concern, comfort, and support. However, there are only a few families that meet this criterion in reality. Through social interactions, and especially from family members, people develop expectations, social skills, and perspective, which might conflict with people from other families. That is why social professionals are valuable in agencies that solve family issues to provide family therapy.

Perini Family Case Study

The best agency of choice to solve Perini’s family issues is the Family Service Center in Richmond, VA. The agency is accredited by the state department of social services in Virginia. It provides a variety of social work services to both individuals or families. Particularly, the agency serves families with children who require urgent social support services. My role in Family Service Center concerns delivering such roles, where I deal with children who have become defiant or are stressed due to family issues. That way, I collaborate with physicians, family members, and client children to ensure their social issues are resolved, to restore family cohesion.


Family Basic Identifying Information

Antonio Perini, aged 41, is a husband to Selma, aged 36. They are currently married for four months, after courting two weeks. They form a mixed family since Perini had another marriage that ended with his wife Lorena’s death. They had two lorena – one girl, Mariana who is 16 years old, and a boy, Paul who is 14 years old. Like Perini, Selma (D’ Angelita) had another marriage, where she came out with a daughter, currently four years old. Selma is legally married to Perini, and they live in the United States. They also live with Selma’s mother – Solie Guilietto, who was moved from Italy immediately after Perini had married Selma. She is 69 years old and living with degenerative kidney disease.

Notably, this is also a mixed-race family, with Perini and children from his first marriage being American, and Selma, Benedetta, and Guilietta being Italian. Perini works in a thriving automotive repair shop supervisor and earns enough to support his family and his stepmother. He has reported that he attends to a “good work.” There is no mention of any of their children working. Selma does not work, but she takes care of her mother, taking her to the Kidney Dialysis Center facility for dialysis and attending shopping.

The Primary Reason For Presentation For Services

Perini’s initial visit to the facility reveals his state of despair. He explains that his first-born daughter, Mariana, has changed behavior and attitude and upset the whole family. Particularly, Mariana is sullen, uncooperative, rude, and very unkind to Selma, Benedetta, and Guilietto. Perini states that Mariana has been rude, disrespectful, and sarcastic to Selma’s personality. This has led to Selma’s grieving. Mariana has also expressed yelled at Benedetta, telling her she is free to leave. Also, Mariana does not extend help to Guilietto or show sympathy despite her illness. This situation has been ongoing ever since Perini married Selma (four months). Before this, Perini highlights that Mariana attendee to many household roles.

Judging from this period, it seems a change in family structure has led Mariana to change attitudes and behaviors. Research has shown that changes in family structure, such as introducing a stepmother, affect an adolescent (Langton & Berger, 2011). Another study found that adolescents tend to be less acceptable to step-parents and allow them limited authority (King, 2009). Guan & Li (2017) explains that besides family structure, intercultural marriages often lead to conflicts. Thus, introducing a stepfamily and cross-cultural marriage is most likely the factors that precipitated Mariana’s change in attitude and behavior.  

Past Medical issues

There is no comprehensive family medical history for Perini’s family. However, his stepmother is suffering from degenerative kidney disease. Her condition worsened after her husband’s death, leaving her with no one to care for her in Florence, Italy. The cause of Lorena’s death is not reported.

Current Medical situation

The only family member presenting illness is Perini’s stepmother. Selma takes her (drives) to a Kidney Dialysis Center three times a week for a dialysis procedure three times a week. Other medical data concerning the medications, appetites, and sleeping patterns for all family members are not given.

Substance use problems

Perini does not report any case of substance abuse.

Past personal history

Children in the family

From Perini’s report, it appears both Mariana and Paul were coping well with the loss of their mother. He says that Mariana stopped cooking and taking care of him and Paul after bringing in Selma. No other details are provided.

Adult History – Selma/Mr. Perini/ Mrs. Guilietto

Perini seems to have been a caring father and husband. His intention to marry seem to have been motivated by finding a mother figure for Mariana and Paul. He also has a good job. The reason for Selma in the US is unknown. Nevertheless, she was initially married, and her mother is believed and sick.

Initial Assessment of Family’s Emotional Functioning

It is Perini who initially visit the agency. He is in a state of despair and very concerned about Mariana. He also appears distraught and confused. He is a frank and caring father and husband, as depicted by finding a woman for his children and bringing his stepmother to the US. Mariana is rude and angry, and uncommunicative. Selma and Benedetta griefs about how Mariana treats them. They, however, seem polite and friendly, but Mariana is hostile and uncooperative. Perini is anxious and confused, and Benedetta is depressed – she says that she will run away. Mariana’s mood is irritable. Her mood, attitude, and behavior have upset the whole family, made Selma grief, and his dad confused. There have been dangerous sentiments, such as Mariana telling Guilietto that she does not have a disability. Perini is aware that a family problem persists, and he has made a good judgment to seek help from a family agency.

Identified Family Strengths

One of the family strengths is thus far supporting Guilietto, who is sick, except Mariana. They have a valuable decision maker – Perini. He is financially stable and thus able to cater to their needs. Selma has already assumed wifely roles. Perini has accepted his in-laws.

Treatment Plan

From the case study, an adolescent (Mariana) is facing a hard time accepting her newly married stepmother (Selma), which has made her rude, disrespectful, and uncooperative; thus, upsetting the whole family and making her father (Perini) distraught and confused.

This situation may be approached from a conflict theory approach or a structural functionalism theory. This follows a hypothesis that Mariana’s changes and behavior pertain to divided loyalties and adolescent stresses. Functionalism theory contends that a society is in a state of balance and should remain that way (Kingsbury & Scanzoni, 2009). Conflict theory explains that there are inherent inequalities that exist in all human societies (Farrington & Chertok, 2009). These help in understudying Mariana’s perspective and designing a treatment plan.

The desired outcome is Mariana stop being rude, disrespectful, uncooperative, and uncommunicative. In this case, respect is a fundamental aspect of the family relationship, the primary treatment goal. Family education will understand the changes, where Perini will be cautioned against showing biased affection. Mariana will understand why her dad married – for their good. Thus, respect her father’s choices, and ultimately her stepfamily. A second goal is fostering cooperation. This is achieved through a support system, where the stepfamily will not force affection and try not to take issues personally. The third goal will seek to establish cohesion in the family. This will require parents to organize situations where they all come together, such as a meal or attending Mariana’s events. These interventions are after Mariana’s prognosis that her behavior and attitude are a response to the loss of her mother and change in the structural function of their family (Farrington & Chertok, 2009; Kingsbury & Scanzoni, 2009). Also, adolescents tend to be defiant to step parents, especially in a mixed-race family (Langton & Berger, 2011; King, 2009; Guan & Li 2017). Thus, the intervention will work to assure her of Perini’s loyalty and help her adapt to the family changes.

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Changes in the family structure appear to cause conflicts, as explained in the conflict and functionalism theories. In this case study, Mariana’s behavior and attitudes change because, after her mother’s besiegement, Perini marries another woman and brings her family to live with them. That destabilizes the normal family structure as per functionalism theory, causing divided loyalties and unmet expectations as explained in the conflict theory. Treatment goals will entail restoring respect, fostering cooperation, and enhancing cohesion among the Perini family members.


Farrington, K., & Chertok, E. (2009). Social Conflict Theories of the Family. Sourcebook Of Family Theories And Methods.

Guan, X., & Li, X. (2017). A Cross-Cultural Examination of Family Communication Patterns, Parent-Child Closeness, and Conflict Styles in the United States, China, and Saudi Arabia. Journal Of Family Communication, 17(3), 223-237.

King, V. (2009). Stepfamily Formation: Implications for Adolescent Ties to Mothers, Nonresident Fathers, and Stepfathers. Journals Of Marriage And Family, 74(4), 954–968.

Kingsbury, N., & Scanzoni, J. (2009). Structural-Functionalism. Sourcebook Of Family Theories And Methods, 191-221.

Langton, C., & Berger, L. (2011). Family Structure and Adolescent Physical Health, Behavior, and Emotional Well-Being. Soc Serv Rev, 83(1), 323–357.