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Unformatted text preview: the idea that the whole family needed treatment, since the existing
models suggested that only the person with the symptoms needed treatment.
The trainees were dealing not only with families, but with the treatment milieu
as well. Clearly, the larger context, or the “significant system” in which the
treatment occurs had to be considered. The schools, courts, clinics and cultures
that the therapists and families are involved with may all have an effect on the
treatment. The impact of the feedback from the students and the systems has
caused the Milan Associates to “think of themselves not as family therapists but
as systems consultants” (p. 24).
Selvini Palazzoli, M., Boscolo, L., Cecchin, G., & Prata, G. (1980), Hypothesizing
— circularity — neutrality: Three guidelines for the conductor of the session,
Family Process, 19 (1), 3-12.
This article outlines the three principles — hypothesizing, circularity, &
neutrality — developed by the Milan group for conducting therapy. The Chapter 4: Strategic & Systemic
information that is known about a family prior to the first meeting forms the
basis for an initial hypothesis about the family process: names, ages, jobs,
education, referral source, reported problem, and the like. According to Selvini
Palazzoli, The hypothesis is an
unproved supposition tentatively accepted to provide a basis for further
investigation (p. 5) based upon the information [the therapist] possesses
regarding the family….The hypothesis establishes a starting point for his
[or her] investigation as well as his [or her] verification for the validity of
this hypothesis based upon specific methods and skills. If the hypothesis
is proven false, the therapist must form a second hypothesis based upon
the information gathered during the testing of the first (p. 4).
The hypothesis, then, helps the therapist decide what he/she might particularly
attend to in the first session and leads to uncovering essential information. It may
be that the data gathered in the first session rules out the initial hypothesis
completely and the new information forms the bases for an alternative
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This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.
- Spring '09