Essay Sample on Marco's Father Making Decisions: Dilemma for Marco

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1072 Words
Date:  2023-09-25


The primary problem is the situation created by Antonio making major decisions concerning Marco’s life without regard to his future goals and aspirations. Noticeably, Marco’s father makes all the important decisions in the family. He wants his son, Marcos, to run the Italian restaurant and Pizzeria because he believes a family member best manages the ventures. Marcos did not want to take up the business as he was determined to go through college and pursue his career.

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Additionally, I can identify that the family has issues with differentiation of self as evident through Marcos’ decision to quit college—contrary to his desire—due to family pressure. Bowen’s model stipulates that a person with a high differentiation level can maintain individuality better while still keeping emotional contact with the group (Brown, 2013). Nevertheless, Marcos has a low differentiation self that makes him experience emotional fusion and pressure from his father, leading to depression.

Relational Structures and Dynamics of the Family

Marcos's family has various relational structures that have contributed directly or indirectly to the current situation. Firstly, power and hierarchy are vivid in the family, where the men, husbands, or fathers have the sole authority to make decisions. In this case, Antonio makes all decisions even those concerning Marco’s life, disregarding his son’s feelings. Secondly, boundaries are present where Anna is warned by her husband to keep off issues that do not concern her. She chooses to remain within her boundaries as opposed to contradicting Antoni’s decision. Triangulations are evident in the family where Sophia is dissatisfied with her parent's behavior and advises Marcos to run away—she communicates to her parents indirectly by encouraging him to break away and be independent.

Ways in Which the Family is Handling their Problems

According to the circular causality concept, cause A may lead to B, while B has a causation effect on A. Therefore, the situation creates a loop which makes focusing on the cause impossible, amplifying the probable a family could be facing (Bellack, Hersen, & Ollendick,1998). In this case, Antonio’s narcissistic decisions cause Marco’s dissatisfaction, while Marco’s refusal to take up the business leads to his father intensifying his efforts to force him to run the enterprise. Both Marcos and Antonio are involved in a blame game as they strive to find the cause of their misunderstanding, which cannot be found given that the casualty is circular. As a result, they end up intensifying the anxiety in the family.

Family Strengths

One of the strengths in the family is the fact that they all realize they are a part of a whole; thus, they strive to remain interdependent. In this case, the family members realize that their lives are affected by the relationship between them and no one can live in emotional isolation. The Bowen’s family system theory states people are best understood within their family genogram, which are systems of interdependent persons in which none can be understood in isolation from the other (Brown, 2013). For instance, Marcos, albeit not liking his father’s decisions, acknowledges that his life is defined in relation to his family, which makes him feel guilty for opposing. As a result, regardless of their differences and emotional imbalances, the family strives to remain as a whole to maintain their identity.

Ecological Resources and Limitations

The ecological resources that define this family system include informal social networks and community professionals and organizations. According to Connard and Novick (1996) development within a family is influenced by the settings or the environment in which it occurs. Firstly, social networks are evident through the maintenance of extended family relations as revealed through Antonio’s brothers. Secondly, the presence of colleges allows the children to grow, while the presence of psychologists promotes the family's mental health. Connard and Novick (1996) add that ecology may support or limit development. In this case, the family’s informal connections hinder its development as Antonio tries to match his family to that of his brothers’ by forcing Marcos to take up the business venture. The influence of extended family culture serves as a limitation for Antonio’s nuclear family to define its unique systems.

Treatment Goals

One of the treatment goals of the family’s problems would be to foster clear communication within the family and focus on the solution. Hence, instead of the family focusing on how the problem arose, they should agree the issue exists and work together towards achieving what each person wants. Secondly, the family members should focus on improving their levels of differentiation to prevent anyone from being consumed by the “togetherness force” and identify the role they take in problematic interactions.

Intervention Strategies

Family therapy strategies such as coaching and encouraging differentiation may aid the family in achieving their treatment goals. The Bowen theory explains that a therapist should ask questions that assume that a client is responsible for their reactions to the other (Brown, 2013). In this case, family members speak from a personal level without defending or attacking against other family members. In this case, clients make personal statements concerning their feelings and thoughts to facilitate responsibility in a relationship. The therapy strengthens a “self-focus” where each family member reduces their anxiety and acknowledge the role they take during problematic interactions (Brown, 2013).


Additionally, coaching would allow a therapist to help individuals such as Marcos develop high differentiation levels. In this case, a client learns more about his family’s emotional dynamics, which allows them to detriangle themselves (Brown, 2013). Marcos can learn about predictable emotional patterns in his family and practice how to control emotional reactivity. By doing so, he learns to respond to anxiety as he tries to pursue personal goals outside the customary roles of their family origin; thus minimizing chances of depression.


Bellack, A. S., Hersen, M., & Ollendick, T. H. (Eds.). (1998). Children & Adolescents: Clinical Formulation & Treatment. Elsevier Science.

Brown, J. (1999). Bowen family systems theory and practice: Illustration and critique. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 20(2), pp. 94-103.

Connard, C., & Novick, R. (1996). The ecology of the family. A background paper for a family-centered approach to education and social service delivery. Retrieved from

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