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Family therapy term paper

"This early success in predicting symptomatic members from close analysis of family communication was never sufficiently replicated by other researchers to qualify as more than a brilliant, suggestive beginning. But at the time its impact on other researchers was great. The group in Palo Alto was also trying to isolate communicational variables associated with different kinds of symptoms. Studies like those of Wynne and Singer supported the idea that a typology of families based on symptoms was more than just a dream, and that the Rosetta Stone of family communication was about to be deciphered. So it was that at the Mental Research Institute in the early 1960s a fascinating guessing game was played. A researcher would play back a piece of taped family conversation to a group of colleagues; for instance, a fragment of a structured interview between a mother and father. The assembled company would then try to guess whether these parents might have a schizophrenic offspring, an underachiever, a delinquent - and they were often correct. If the conversation was between parents with a young child, the group might speculate whether the youngster might be expected to have a psychotic break at, possibly, age twenty. Don Jackson and his fellow researchers were trying to perfect a predictive as well as postdictive methodology for analyzing communicational characteristics of families with symptoms. One of Jackson's major interests just before his death in 1968 was a study of families that produced members with ulcerative colitis. Once identified, he believed, patterns associated with specific symptoms could be "read" from samples of family interaction."

"The more familiar we became with the field of family therapy, the more we discovered its fascination with bringing about change rather than with other constructs like healing, coherence, gender, and generativity. It has produced a plethora of strategies, interventions, prescriptions (variant and invariant), solutions, miracles, and other beguiling notions designed to further the mission of changing others. This preoccupation with finding ways to change others has seemed to the scientists arrogant and aggressive. It belies a lack of respect for the lifelong struggles of clients. It is devoid of compassion for others. The desire to change others stems from an ideology of blame and disapproval for the way others live their lives, and it implies a process of judging others. Therapists who set out to change others put themselves in a higher position in the social order than the ones they are judging. Putting therapists in the judgement chair can be dangerous. It puts them in the position of interpreting and representing the interests of society over the interests of the clients. Family therapy as a social and economic movement has been fascinated with change and seduced by charismatic therapists with theories about change borrowed from the physical and biological sciences, by cultural fads, and by market-place pressures to produce quick and cheap solutions. As one of the newer forms of psychotherapy, family therapy has had to prove its efficacy, its value to the mental health movement. It could not simply compete with the established psychotherapies. It had to have a better mousetrap. The traditional psychotherapies were based on a process that claimed to produce continuous changes within the individual over long periods of time. Individuals were believed to operate on the principle that internal psychological changes must be congruent with the various interdependent components of the psychological structure called self or ego. To help an individual change, therapists and the individuals had to find ways to make new or transformed components fit the existing interdependent whole. Changes had to be compatible with the integrity of the existing psychological structure of the individual. But no attention was paid to how the changes of the individual did or did not integrate with the patterns of interactions among the individuals who form the units of interaction, like families."

"Cecchin had started their training activities, they were called upon to demonstrate their model in different places all over the world. Offshoot teams took root in a significant number of communities in Europe, Great Britain, Canada, the United States, and Australia. Because of the geographic spread of these newer teams, a practice known as "teams" conferences evolved, first hosted by the Milan Associates in Italy, and then spontaneously erupting in other countries. Because the Milan method was so grounded in Batesonian ideas, and because Bateson shared a common conceptual heritage with the founders of second-order cybernetics, the evolving teams took naturally to a more or less constructivist view. The Milan model also offered to its offshoot teams a starburst of new techniques. Second-generation teams often founded their whole approach to therapy on one of these techniques. Karl Tomm of Calgary University has taken the circular questioning of Milan and made it the basis for an approach he calls "interventive questioning". The same could be said of the work with future and hypothetical questions pioneered by Peggy Penn and Marcia Sheinberg of the Ackerman Institute in New York. Penn and Sheinberg have also been using the concept of the premise in their clinical work."

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