Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Tracking in Structural Family Therapy

  • Jorge ColapintoEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_973


Tracking is a technique utilized by structural family therapists. Although primarily used for the purpose of identifying patterns of interaction, it also serves a therapeutic purpose.


Because Structural Family Therapy looks at individual problems in the context of the family’s relational patterns, structural therapists do not try to find out why a problematic behavior happens, but how it happens: in which kind of situations, who are the participants, what they do before, during, and after the behavior in question occurs.


When assessing a family’s relational patterns in a session, structural therapists pay more attention to the process being displayed than to the verbal content. As family members talk, the therapist notices who interrupts, who supports, if and how they disagree, all of which helps her or him map the “coalitions, affiliations, explicit and implicit conflicts, and the ways family members group themselves in conflict resolution” (Minuchin...

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  1. Minuchin, S., & Fishman, H. C. (1981). Family therapy techniques. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Minuchin, P., Colapinto, J., & Minuchin, S. (2007). Working with families of the poor. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Minuchin Center for the FamilyWoodburyUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • David Kearns
    • 1
  1. 1.Iowa CityUSA