VISTAS Counseling Families and Adults

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Toward a Deeper Understanding of Adoption Family Structure: Concepts Borrowed From Social Justice, Attachment Theory, and Relational Dialectics

Thomas C. Harrison and Terianne F. Harrison


Adoption and adoption family issues are not a regular part of most counselor preparation programs and, as such, mental health professionals do not have adequate training in adoption and adoption issues. The studies on adoption often reflect a lack of birth family participants and are focused instead on the adoptee and the adopted family. This paper provides a conceptualization of the adoption family system that integrates four perspectives: social justice, attachment theory—specifically object relations, the adoption triad (i.e., adoptee, all members of the adopted family, and all members of the birth family), and relational dialectics. These four dimensions comprise a fundamental conceptualization that mental health practitioners can use to help design treatments for adoptees and their families.

Keywords: adoption, adoption triad, attachment theory and adoption, relational dialectics

PDF, 293.87 KB

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