Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Salts, Connie J.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Human and Family Resources


Catholic schools; Parents--Psychology; Family psychotherapy


Chicago schools, public as well as private, have expanded the special services available to students over the years, but they continue to offer few, if any, counseling services for students with emotionally-based problems. Family therapy is often the proper recommendation for such children and their families. The disadvantages of the private practice and mental health center settings in treating such problems are discussed as well as the advantages of using the family therapy approach in the school setting. The literature review discusses these issues as well as the advantages of the systems model over the traditional intrapsychic model and the types of problems most effectively treated by a family therapist in a school setting. The author developed a needs assessment survey to determine parent's attitudes and opinions on the subject of counseling in general, family therapy in particular, and more specifically, family therapy as a school service. The school families of two Chicago northwest side parochial grammar schools were surveyed. One school has employed a part-time family therapist for 1-1/2 years; the other offers no counseling services. Of the 879 surveys distributed, 575 or 65% were returned. The demographic figures indicated that the two cluster samples were highly homogeneous along age, marital status, racial heritage, education, income, and gender lines, lending validity to the data obtained from the questionnaire. An analysis of the date indicated that 87% of the respondents would consider seeking counseling services for a family problem they could not solve. The first choice of site for family therapy was: 50%, private practice; 43%, school; and only 13%, mental health center. This data clearly indicates a more favorable view toward private practice and school settings vs. mental health center settings. An interest in a family therapy program in their child's school was expressed by 85% of the respondents. The two cluster samples were highly homologous in their opinions with both reporting similarly favorable responses to the idea of a family therapist working in their child's school. The presence or absence of such a service presently being available in their school did not appear to have any significant effect on the data. Finally, limitations of the study and implications for future investigations are discussed.


Bibliography: pages 65-68.


vi, 78 pages




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