Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Roger R. Ries


The purpose of this study was to investigate multi-systemic training of counselors on families who participated in counseling to determine differences in the family's social functioning and in children's behaviors within home and school settings. The sample of counselors (n = 10) and families (n = 29) were from the New Horizon's Family Counseling Center, affiliated with the School of Education at the College of William and Mary.;Systemic theory as it relates to family therapy possesses two major tenets: the family is best understood as a system of mutually interacting and interdependent parts, and interventions should include the whole family (Minuchin & Fishman, 1979). A multi-systemic model asks counselors to view the family's behavior as a function of the family and its relationship with each other and with other systems (e.g. schools, social agencies, extracurricular groups and the workplace). Evaluating patterns which emerge between families and larger systems provides information regarding possible replication of unsatisfactory relationships and clarifies interactions among professionals (Imber-Black, 1988).;A non-equivalent, quasi-experimental design with pre and post tests was employed. The dependent measures included: Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and Teacher Report Form (TRF) and Family Environment Scale (FES). Data was analyzed using multivariate and univariate repeated measures analysis of variance statistical procedures. to supplement the standard analyses, a multi-systemic orientation questionnaire and interviews were completed.;Results indicate that counseling in general resulted in improvement on the FES, CBCL and TRF, and on CBCL subscales Internal and External. However, there were no significant differences between families served by the experimental and comparison groups. In addition to a multitude of confounding variables, the outstanding factors which may have affected results include pretest differences between groups, and training which may not have provided a significant enough change to result in the anticipated hypotheses.;The author concluded that, despite statistical results, which reflect more upon numerous limitations in the design and implementation, the concept of a multi-systemic approach to assessment and intervention is one which possesses a practical significance and continues to warrant further investigation.



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