Monday, September 24, 2012

A Moment of Conflict in Family Therapy

"What we are talking about is the prospect of the family as a whole changing.  And to start that process with one fifth of the family absent would be unfair to Don (sibling) and I think unfair to you.  He's part of the family, and we need him here if the family as a whole is going to change." There was an edge of toughness in my voice. 
Mrs. Brice didn't give in easily.  "But Don isn't the problem.  The problem has to do with Claudia."  Her voice was chilly, too.  We were definitely having a fight. 
Nor was I giving in.  "But you see, that's your initial definition of the problem.  We assume that the problem is much more complex and much more extensive than Claudia.  And the whole family just has to be involved."  I hesitated, gazing with level intensity at the mother.  I realized that pushing the family might mean losing them, but I knew that it had to be done.  "Now, maybe you guys aren't up to this kind of major job that we're talking about.  We really can't decide that for you.  But it's clear that we need the whole family."  A very large and imposing silence.

From The Family Crucible: The Intense Experience of Family Therapy by Augustus Y. Napier with Carl Whitaker

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