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if families were helped to see new ways of understanding their problems, they
would find better ways of organizing themselves, without a need for reference to
norms. Symptoms simply functioned to preserve family homeostasis and were
maintained by interactional sequences. The Original Milan Model
The first model was strongly influenced by the MRI strategic methods. Families
were seen by a male-female dyad and observed by other team members. Each
session had five parts:
1. Presession - the team formed an initial hypothesis.
2. Session - the hypothesis was validated or modified.
3. Intersession – the team met alone to form an intervention.
4. Intervention - the therapists returned to deliver the intervention, either a
positive connotation or a ritual (see below), which was given in the form of a
statement together with a prohibition against change, using paradox to
counter resistance to change.
5. Post session discussion - team analysis of the session and formulation of a
plan for the next session (Nichols & Schwartz, 1998).
The sessions were held one month apart to give families time to react to the
interventions, and the total number of sessions was usually limited to ten. Two
basic interventions, positive connotation and rituals characterized the early
Positive Connotation. Positive Connotation is the hallmark of the early Milan
systemic model. They believed that people could not easily change under the
influence of negative connotation. For example, diagnostic labeling (a negative
connotation) implies causality and implicates the person with the diagnosis.
Positive connotation, by contrast, avoids linear causality and blame by assigning a
positive motive or value to each family member’s behavior. Their initial
intervention technique was similar to reframing (used by the MRI therapists)
since the symptom was assumed to serve a protective function, and the goal of
the intervention was to alter the way the symptom was viewed by the family.
However, these therapists objected to the technique of reframing to the extent
that family members feel blamed for creating problems in their families. Positive
connotation “eliminated the implica...
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This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.
- Spring '09