Phases Of Systemic Formulation: Concepts Application Sample College Essay

The genogram representation of a family is more advanced than a family tree. Claus Mikkelsen, grandfather to Cindy, is the only first-generation member still alive. Cindy’s maternal grandparents Desmond and Mary are deceased, and they divorced before death. From the genogram, Jenifer, Cindy’s mother is suffering from depression, possibly caused by the miscarriage she suffered recently. Cindy and her father, James, are conflicted by Jenifer’s condition impacting their daily lives. It is important to note that Jenifer lost her sister Harriet, while James was the only child to Mr. and Mrs. Mikkelsen. James and Jenifer are engaged but still cohabiting and are currently in intimate conflict. A genogram will represent all these family traits to aid the entire family therapy process.


Genograms are crucial in systematic family system therapy used to conduct the assessment. According to Alexander et al. (2022), a genogram represents multiple family generations arranged like a family tree. However, unlike family trees which only depict familial relationships between members, genograms include relative factors like deaths, diseases, sociodemographics, disease and illness, relational dynamics, traumatic life events, and other human relational elements (Alexander et al., 2022). Genograms can generate rich information about the family as research, educational, or professional tool. The tool can tress a traumatizing experience across family generations. In the case of Mikkelsen’s family, a genogram is crucial for depicting all relational and co-occurring human factors that make them a social unit.

James and Jenifer’s Family Genogram

(Description: Used Edraw Max online graphic tool to develop the family’s genogram
(Description: Used Edraw Max online graphic tool to develop the family’s genogram

The referral

A referral is fundamentally a recommendation to a competent facility or personnel when needing a certain service. Today, many referral avenues exist for families seeking mental health services to explore. The family can talk to immediate family members to point them to a licensed psychologist. In this case, Claus is the one who referred his son James to a psychologist who helped him overcome the trauma he suffered during his active combat years in Vietnam. Also, many state psychological agencies set up referral services to link clients with professional mental health caregivers (APA, 2023). the referral agencies are also a choice for James to explore when seeking a professional psychologist to help his family cope with a problem.

Deconstructing the problems

In a family conflict or challenge involving one or more members, deconstructing the problem is crucial in establishing the origin or the root cause of the problem. Jenifer recently encountered a miscarriage, which forms the genesis of her recent behavior change. She seems withdrawn from her husband and daughter, claiming how special their loss could have been if he had been brought into the world alive. Specifically, Jenifer has refused to take care of their daughter, leaving James with most of the parental responsibilities. They recently shared that the father has to perform all the chores, including preparing Cindy for school and responsibilities. Deconstructing the problem in the process of formulation in systematic practice involve coming up with a hypothesis and explanation to explain the root cause of the problem (Tickle et al., 2015). In this case, suffering a miscarriage by Jenifer explains the sudden change in the behavior causing discomfort in the family. The emerging dysfunctional relations all stem from the trauma Jenifer experienced when she prematurely lost her child. Thus, the psychologist will use the root cause to develop a potential systematic hypothesis to kickstart the formulation process.

James is worried about the mental status of his wife, given that he was affected by the loss. When deconstructing the problem, the focus is given to how the situation affects different family members, how relationships are affected, the most affected member, the history of it, and exceptions that could be made (Tickle et al., 2015). By definition, deconstructing the problem situates the vital role of the psychologist in analyzing and guiding relations, focusing on the problem. James provided all the information case information so far, necessitating the need for getting Jenifer involved in the process. The important point is that Claus, a war veteran, referred his son to us, making him an important component of this process, given that he is one of the family members.

Contextual factors

The contextual factor primarily entails the descriptive elements of the problem as linked to various family factors. Specifically, the section entails the family structure and genograms, the history of the problem, family resources, culture, environmental factors, and the role that other non-family actors play in this case (Dallos & Draper, 2015). Mikkelsen’s family is not socially deprived, given the number of family friends within and out of their residential area. On numerous occasions, James has been helped by Jenifer’s female friends to do some domestic duties to show their support. James’ father has been supportive and is familiar with trauma can negatively affect individuals in a family context.

For non-family actors, Jenifer was taken to the hospital immediately after she realized something was different. However, the healthcare providers did not attend to her because the high number of accident causalities caused a crisis admitted on that day. Given their income status, the family has enough resources, as both parents are formally employed. Also, they have a security company that has been in operation for half a decade, further explaining how resourceful they are when accessing quality care services. James has been summoned by the school superintendent, citing how psychologically affected the daughter has been in recent times. Given the recent change in Jenifer’s condition, the social work agency will put with the family’s situation. The school had forwarded the case to child protective services explaining why agencies were involved in this case.

Beliefs and explanations

When faced with a problem, family members give a different meaning based on underlying belief systems. According to Dallos and Draper (2015), beliefs and explanations entail the meanings and understanding different family members give the problem, where there could be similarities or differences in their values, beliefs, and expectations. Also, different family members’ understanding of the impact of the problem on the community, religion, or any social group is crucial to understanding the cultural impact of the problem on the individual and the whole family (Dallos & Draper, 2015). In terms of belief concerning their lost child, Jenifer appears to believe that James is not concerned by what happened. On the other hand, James suggests that his wife is over-attached to the tragedy since it happened over five months ago. In this instance, the difference in belief regarding the mourning period of their child is influenced by the emotional attachment a mother has for their child compared to the father.

Outside the family, Jenifer is religious, while James does not subscribe to any faith system. The wife will likely associate family tragedies like the miscarriage she suffered with the unseen dark forces. It explains why she has been spending much time in church compared to any other place. On the other hand, James treats the problem as a medical condition, a belief that creates disagreement with her wife. Given the existing belief differences in processing the problem, Cindy’s school believes in an existing relational dysfunctional explaining her lack of concentration in class. All the beliefs from Jenifer, James, and the school explain the problem differently.

Problem-maintaining patterns and feedback loops

Family structure and how different units relate with each other during a crisis is vital in understanding problem-maintaining patterns and feedback loops. Tickle et al. (2015) identify family structure in terms of emotional communication and the exploration of the existing boundaries and other subsystems within it. Family hierarchy is also within this concept. As the father, James has displayed repetitive behavior in taking care of the family, even knowing well that he needs the help of his wife. On the other hand, Jenifer has emerged emotionally withdrawn from the family despite having Cindy and her husband caring for her. A pattern of resentment is evident in Jenifer’s expression of emotions. She seems to blame herself for the loss, a feeling that has been challenging for James to process for the past five months.

A pattern of Jenifer’s withdrawal from her family’s well-being uniquely explains this concept. An aspect of problem-maintaining patterns and feedback loops is evident in repeating forms of emotions, behaviors, or attitudes which escalate into an identifiable trend (Dallos & Draper, 2015). A trend in the wife’s non-involvement in the daughter’s welfare worries the family. For the past five months, Jenifer had not tucked their daughter to bed, shared an ice cream with her, or go shopping with her, the bonding routines that strengthened the mother-daughter emotional attachment before the tragedy happened. The escalating pattern of a distancing mother-daughter bond is fueled by the bereavement emotions that Jenifer suffered when she lost her pregnancy through miscarriage. The lack of the mother’s love previously enjoyed by Cindy negatively impacts Cindy’s emotional well-being explaining the difficulties encountered at school, as reported by the teacher. James also displays repeated frustration because he has to care for everyone and misses her previous emotional connection with her family, especially his wife.

Emotions and attachments

The concepts of emotions and attachments encompass the family’s emotional well-being, focusing on shared emotions and interdependencies between family members in all generations. Expression of emotions can be used to establish interpersonal relationships shared by family members (Dallos & Draper, 2015). When Jenifer expresses their resentment towards her husband after losing their child indicates anger towards him for not being concerned enough. Also, it may be interpreted as some degree of blame by the wife towards the husband for not doing enough to save the pregnancy. However, the husband is not to blame because he took her to the hospital immediately, he learned of the problem, but the hospital delays and other unforeseen circumstances may have contributed to the problem. Without the loss, no indicators of an existing emotional dysfunction within James’ family exist. Things only escalated after the miscarriage incident.

Cindy has been more emotionally drawn to her father than her mother. When James is in the house, her daughter engages in clingy behaviors with him, and most of the time, she will cuddle him until she falls asleep. The behavior shows how emotionally attached the daughter has become to the father since the mother lost the pregnancy. There is a possibility that Jenifer lost the emotional connection she had with her daughter before she encountered the problem. Jenifer seems traumatized, making her emotionally insecure with her family, including her daughter. However, Cindy still shares a strong emotional bond and attachment with her grandfather and father. Expression of emotions is encouraged in this family, whether positive or negative, a social trend that could help solve the problem.


In formulation, synthesis marks a crucial stage of piecing together information gathered about the family. Synthesis is the selective and intuitive task of weaving together much information to derive meaning (Dallos & Draper, 2015). Therapists must remain objective to help the family find solutions to the problem. It is not about testing the correct hypothesis but staying curious and active to efficiently deconstruct the problem (Dallos & Draper, 2015). In that case, Mikkelsen’s family therapist should not decide positively or negatively construct its image. Using the information, the therapist should string together the information to establish its negative and positive attributes before and after the problem. Synthesizing information is not easy, especially when the therapist has existing values and beliefs that could make them biased. The goal is identifying beliefs and assumptions that could make us biased crucial for shaping our formulation. For instance, evidence should establish if James did not emotionally support his wife after the miscarriage escalating her condition, or Jenifer did not allow her husband to support her.

A crucial factor concerning formulation is that the process is a two-way traffic. As much as the focus is on the family’s cultural beliefs, norms, and practices, they are also weary of our attitude and beliefs and are likely to shout us out when they identify a conflict of interest. In that case, collaboration through reflective team discussions is integral to finding mutual understanding between the family and therapists (Dallos & Draper, 2015). Through collaboration, the professional team and the family will likely map out conflicting ideas, beliefs, and practices and foster understanding. Without understanding, the conflicting ideas will lay the ground for disagreements between the family and the therapists making it difficult to synthesize information.

From the case, problematic family patterns that need to change include the following:

  • Ignoring Jenifer’s feeling of bereavement after she suffered a miscarriage. The family has never contacted a specialist since Jenifer lost their child. They have never discussed the problem, creating conflict between James and his wife.
  • Also, another pattern that needs to be addressed is the inability of the mother to provide the needed emotional and resource support to the daughter. James has been alone when caring for their daughter for the past five months. Cindy has emotionally distanced herself from the mother, and if the situation is not rectified, their relationship may be permanently damaged.
  • An experience of reality shift, where the daughter can only turn to the father when needing a parent, needs to be addressed. When Cindy asks her mother for help, she always seems withdrawn, which has left the daughter conflicted about their relationship. Cindy is growing up in a dysfunctional family setting where parental responsibilities or practices are not aligned with the expectations of a normally functioning family.
  • Also, this family has a problem with expressing or processing emotions. Jenifer prefers to withdraw from the family and suffer silently after losing their child. On the other hand, James does not know how to express his emotion and help Jenifer process her feelings.


Family conflicts can be catastrophic if not resolved and normalcy restored. Using a genogram, a psychologist can trace the root cause of a family conflict and demonstrate how the problem impacts each member. In the case of James’ family, when his wife suffered a miscarriage, physical and emotional gaps developed between the parents, negatively impacting the child. When the grandparent referred James to a psychologist, it showed all members’ willingness to help eliminate the dysfunctional elements of the family affecting members. The whole process of deconstructing this problem involved the assessment of individual factors like emotional attachment and expression and group factors like culture and religion. With the guidance of a genogram, the therapist can mend the existing gaps within the family.


Alexander, J, H., Callaghan, J, E., & Fellin, L, C. (2022). Genograms in research: Participants’ reflections of the genogram process. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 19(1), 91-111,

APA. (2023, March 21). How to find help through seeing a psychologist. American Psychological Association,

Dallos, R., & Draper, R. (2015). An Introduction to Family Therapy: Systematic Theory and Practice. (4th Ed.). Open University Press.

Tickle, A., Rennoldson, M., Schroder, T., Cooper, A., & Naidoo, R. (2015). 8. Systematic family therapy. In: Formulation in Action: Applying psychological theory to clinical practice (p. 123-141). Warsaw,

Elon Musk’s Acquisition Of Twitter Writing Sample


Image of Musk with Jared Kushner at the world cup

This choice was informed by the controversial circumstances revolving around the acquisition of Twitter. Is this image associated with having had links to Musk’s acquisition of Twitter because of his presence at the world cup. This image was controversial because Musk was in the presence of Jared Kushner, who was involved in a deal with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, a major shareholder of Twitter. This image has various implications linked to Musk’s Purchase of Twitter. Kushner was believed to link Musk with the crown prince regarding the purchase of Twitter, as the crown prince is the second largest shareholder in Twitter (Barrie and Christopher). The image as well to an outsider can be viewed as Musk having similar political views as Kushner because Kushner is a son-in-law to Trump and was the former senior advisor to the former president. The photo has political and investment undertones; as described above, the presence of Kushner at the world cup was significant because he was a link between Musk and the crown prince; this makes Kushner a political influencer.

Experts have acknowledged that the crown prince endorsed Musk’s move to privatize the company. The idea from this photo is that Musk is a strategic and aggressive investor aiming to create strategic partnerships. This benefits businesses because they offer a platform for positive business relations reflected in the company’s operational and strategic policies, which impact profits and revenues. For a sociologist, it can be perceived that people associate with a person based on their interests; in this case, Kushner served Musk’s interests, hence the association. Humanitarians require morality, benevolence, selfless and emotional responses and approaches to how people associate (Rohlinger et al.).This image did not showcase a selfless nature because Musk served his interests by socializing with Kushner. This showcases a conflict between sociologist and humanitarian approaches whereby in a social setting, morality and selflessness is often disregarded, and humanitarianism regards these deliverables highly. This image was informed by the controversies linked to the acquisition of Twitter, and this image aims at associating and describing Musk as a risk taker and strategic thinker. This is because having the crown prince as an ally will help reduce the resistance to the acquisition of Twitter.

Elon Musk can be described as an entrepreneur because of his position in the business environment. Musk has invested in and started companies such as PayPal, Space X, Tesla and Twitter. Musk is an interesting character to be analyzed by students, CEOs and people aspiring to live the American dream. Musk can be perceived to be living the American dream because he was initially born in South Africa and migrated to Canada and then the USA progressively. Musk is also a perfect example of an open-minded, risk-taking entrepreneur. His entrepreneurial skills began to showcase at 12 when he sold a video game to a magazine (Rohlinger et al.).Recently his aggressive takeover of Twitter can be described as a bold move. This is because from 2017 according to Twitter’s financial records, the company has been registering losses. Musk’s investment in such a company can be described as bold. This move can also be described as bold because Musk took out loans to finance the purchase; Twitter will finance this loan. A move experts term as strategic and incorporates elements of good debt because Musk did not purchase Twitter using his money.

Experts also acknowledge that to be an entrepreneur. One needs to have unique ideas and the mind of an investor. Musk is an example of n entrepreneur who has monetized their capabilities and inventions. One of the evident strategies Musk has used to monetize his inventions revolves around creating and selling a product. For example, in 1995, Musk created the Zip2 corporation. The amount used for this start-up was $28000 borrowed from Musk’s father. In 1999 musk sold the company for an estimated $ 307 million (Rohlinger et al.).The profit made by Musk for this particular sale was $ 22 million. The proceeds were later used to find, an online banking system. Musk formed a merger with Confinity to form PayPal in the year 2000. In 2002, Musk sold PayPal to eBay, which saw Musk obtain $ 180 million. The period post-PayPal saw Musk as well partake in a risky investment such as Twitter by deciding to invest all his money in SpaceX, Tesla and Solar City.

This move saw Musk become broke, a factor perpetuated by his $ 20 million divorce. As of 2023, Musk’s network is estimated to be $187 billion. This data is according to the Forbes ranking. The above analysis focuses on Musk’s ability to monetize his skills and invention. These inventions have also impacted society as most align with the demands of contemporary society(Barrie and Christopher). For example, Tesla’s car is environmentally friendly as they aim to revolutionize the transport sector. That is, some of the cars produced by Tesla use green energy, which helps reduce the carbon emissions associated with the transport industry.

Nonetheless, the above analysis portrays the characteristic of Musk as an entrepreneur and investor. One of these characteristics revolves around being a risk-taker. This is seen in various instances, from using all his money to investing in purchasing a company to making losses. Musk is also strategic as he remains with part ownership of his companies and avoids cashing out this institution, a move that contributes to his net worth(Rohlinger et al.).The other strategies used in investing within his circles. His investments and inventions have been linked to his close allies and family friends. The other evident strategy is interlinking his businesses. For instance, currently, Musk uses Twitter to market Tesla. This information is crucial for investors, students and persons aspiring to live the American dream.


Rohlinger, Deana A., et al. “Does the Musk Twitter Takeover Matter? Political Influencers, Their Arguments, and the Quality of Information They Share.” Socius 9 (2023): 23780231231152193.

Barrie, Christopher. “Did the Musk Takeover Boost Contentious Actors on Twitter?.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2212.10646 (2022).

External Stressors That Are Unique To Adolescent Sample Paper

During adolescence, young people experience fast physical, emotional, and cognitive changes, which can be challenging and stressful. While many stressors can affect adolescents, two external stressors unique to this age group are peer pressure and academic pressure (Anniko et al., 2019). This paper discusses peer pressure and academic pressure as the two external stressors unique to adolescents.

Peer Pressure as An External Stressor in Adolescence

For many teenagers, peer pressure is a significant source of stress. Young adults in this stage of life are frequently concerned about blending in and being accepted by their peers. A strong desire to follow the social standards of their peer group may come from this, even if those norms go against their values or beliefs. Teenagers, for example, may engage in risky behavior to impress their classmates or feel pressured to try drugs or alcohol because their friends are doing it (Anniko et al., 2019). Such pressure can be overwhelming and have negative consequences like addiction or other serious health issues.

Academic Pressure as An External Stressor in Adolescence

Teenage stress is often aggravated by academic pressure. Students preparing for college in their senior year may feel much academic pressure. To get into a reputable university, many young people experience intense pressure to do well in their classrooms, participate in extracurricular activities, and keep a high GPA. Students from disadvantaged origins or those who believe their prospects depend on their academic success may particularly feel this pressure (Anniko et al., 2019). The stress of academic pressure can significantly harm teenagers’ emotional and physical health if it is not well managed, leading to anxiety, despair, and fatigue.

Ways To Support Adolescents In Handling Academic And Social Pressures

Adolescents need to establish their identities and views to manage peer pressure effectively. Students ought to be aware that being unique is acceptable and that fitting in does not require adhering to the standards set by their peer group. Adolescents can benefit significantly from the assistance of their parents and teachers in helping them make wise decisions and deal with peer pressure (Anniko et al., 2019). It is critical to keep communication lines open and respond to their concerns without passing judgment.

Adolescents can use a variety of coping mechanisms to handle academic pressure successfully. Setting realistic goals, dividing chores into manageable chunks, setting priorities, and taking part in stress-relieving physical activities are some of these tactics. Parents and educators can also help teenagers by giving them access to the tools they need, such as tutoring or counseling (Anniko et al., 2019).

In conclusion, this paper has discussed the two external stresses that are specific to adolescents: peer pressure and academic pressure. Teenagers transform adolescence, bringing new stressors, including peer and academic pressure. These external stressors can negatively impact young people’s welfare if they are not effectively controlled (Anniko et al., 2019). Parents, schools, and health professionals may assist teenagers in navigating this challenging phase of life and enhancing their general health by being aware of and responding to these pressures.


Anniko, M. K., Boersma, K., & Tillfors, M. (2019). Sources of stress and worry in developing stress-related mental health problems: A longitudinal investigation from early-to mid-adolescence. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping32(2), 155-167.