Family Therapy With Irish-Americans


  • We owe a great deal of thanks to our many friends, colleagues, clients, and relatives, whose experience has contributed to this paper. We are especially indebted to Helen Cahalane McGoldrick and to Kathryn Milea for their editorial help on the manuscript and to Myra Wayton, without whose endless efforts this paper would never have appeared.


This paper presents a paradigm for understanding the cultural values and family patterns of Irish-American families and offers suggestions for clinical intervention. Families' correspondence to the model described will depend upon their level of acculturation, socioeconomic status, and other contextual factors. The paradigm suggests a number of issues that may create difficulties for the therapist and for the family in therapy. In general, behavioral techniques, Bowen systems therapy, and strategic interventions may be more useful than techniques emphasizing expression of emotions in therapy or direct attempts to alter communication or family behavior in therapy sessions, as used in structural therapy.