Unformatted text preview: and family as one
unit. As von Foerster (1981) noted, “[T]he observer enters into the description of
that which is observed in such a way that objectivity is not at all possible….There
is no such thing as a separately observed system” (p. 14). It is misleading to
conceptualize the family as a separate entity; rather it is “better to think of the
treatment unit as a meaning system to which the treating professional is as active
a contributor as anyone else” (p. 14). The system does not create the problem; the
problem creates the system.
Other changes have evolved in the Milan approach. Newer interventions reflect
greater neutrality. Formerly, the closing statement of a session included a
statement of paradox or so-called sacrifice intervention. The person with the
symptom was characterized as being in the service of the homeostasis, an
intervention that overcame resistance by causing a rebellion against the
symptom. While the family improved, members might feel guilty or blamed.
More recently, paradox is used less and the messages are more neutral, in that
they place “all the behaviors related to a problem in the service of a shared
premise, value, or myth” (p. 16). In this way, no one in the family feels blamed,
and the message “elucidates the double-level bind” (p. 16).
Additionally, the team has changed the positive connotation. When a symptom
was positively connoted, it implied that the symptom was needed by the family
and, therefore, was good. But the family experienced the problem as terrible, and
the characterization of it as good could be perceived as mocking. The team began
using more of a logical connotation. “There is no need to say that a problem is
useful, beneficent, or functional—only that people have gotten used to it and that
such habits are hard to break” (p. 16). The development of the symptom is
neither good nor bad, but understandable, given the context.
The team has also altered its use of rituals. “A ritual is an ordering of beh...
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- Spring '09
- Family therapy, therapist, Jay Haley, Nichols & Schwartz