Comparing Traditional vs. Non-traditional Families

Describe the similarities and differences between traditional and current definitions of couples and families.
Identify two to three personal filters that might lead to obstacles or challenges in the work of counselors with couples and families and describe briefly how each might affect their work.
Explain how to address the potential obstacles or challenges, derived from personal filters, to working with couples and families.
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Describe the similarities and differences between traditional and current definitions of couples and families.

The traditional family is often viewed in western societies as the two-parent nuclear family, and as the extended family in eastern cultures. However, the traditional or nuclear model or the ideal family is being challenged by research that suggests this model has inherent contradictions. Studies have been presented that provide new perspective and insights into the complexities in family relations. The main argument in the studies is that family life that has been presented as the ideal joint venture between a man and woman in based on a gender ideology that has several problems.

Research is presented that suggests female and male parents have expectations, beliefs and practices that are rooted in traditional and complimentary gender notions. Edgell and Docak (2007) have referred to the ideal family as a “cultural schema [with] interrelated idea and symbols that shape a cultural repertoire …in which men and women discuss and shape their family life” (p. 27). Their view coincides with that of Vial (2011) in that the notion of the ideal family is based on gender ideology defined by the following factors: (a) distinct nature of men and women, (b) the relational aspect of roles, and (c) the connection between gender, sexuality and reproduction (Bern, 1093 as cited in Edgell and Docak, 2007). Edgell and Docak (2007) examined the relationship between family ideology and gender in three religious congregations: (1) Hispanic Catholic, (2) African American Traditional, and (3) A White liberal Protestant Church. They found considerable evidence of family-oriented ministry and a range of gendered and inclusive practices. For instance, a Protestant congregation had adopted an open and affirming stance toward homosexual and same-sex unions. However, …