chapter  2
26 Pages

Counseling Fathers from a Strength-Based Perspective

WithChen Z. Oren, Matt Englar-Carlson, Mark A. Stevens, Dora Chase Oren

The first author of this chapter wondered how to begin a discussion of positive fathering. As it often happens, clients inspire us in different ways. Recently, one of my clients came to his weekly session holding a picture frame in his hand. He spent the first few minutes updating me about his week. As we were ready to delve deeper into an issue, he asked

to show me the picture frame. With much pride and red eyes he read “My Father’s Hands,” a poem his 14-year-old daughter wrote for him as a school project and which she gave to him for Christmas. He discussed the meaning of the poem to him. He talked about his decision to make his children a priority, about the times he spends with them, and about his children seeking his physical and emotional support. He also spoke of the moment his daughter was born and when she looked at him for the first time. He remembered a strong feeling of love and refused to let her go until he had to take her to the nursery a few hours later. Some have called the impact a newborn has on a father engrossment, “a sense of absorption, pre-occupation, and interest in the infant” that releases the potential for involvement (Greenberg & Morris, 1974, p. 521). Yet at the same time, my client’s stories and memories link his positive experiences as a father to his feelings about the lack of his own father’s support, presence, and involvement in his life. My client represents the positive impact fathering has on men and their children.