As each member speaks interruptions are observed for

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Unformatted text preview: ve. The therapist often decides whom to ask first based on his/her observations. The therapist’s choices are goal directed (e.g. beginning with the least involved parent in order to increase his/her involvement). Typically, he/she avoids starting with the person who has been identified as having or being the problem. The therapist asks a general question regarding the reasons the family has come or what changes each would like to see. As each member speaks, interruptions are observed for what they might reveal about the family, but the focus is quickly returned to the speaker. Goals: The therapist continues to observe and make mental hypotheses about hierarchical structure and triangles, but does not “interpret” family interactions to them. He/she notices disagreements in the explanation of the problem, which will provide the basis for the interactive discussion to follow. The therapist takes charge of the session, for example, bringing in under-involved members, preventing an overly talkative member from dominating, sitting near a child reluctant to speak, or moving a child closer to the parent to whom he is the least close. These interventions are strategic since the family is prevented from repeating their previous patterns of interactions. 3. Interactional Stage. The therapist asks the members to discuss with one another the various perspectives and disagreements regarding the problem. In this stage Haley (1985) cautions, “It cannot be overemphasized how important it is to have the family members interact with each other, rather than the therapist” (p. 37). The therapist may intervene to bring more members into the discussion or to bring action into the discussion, i.e., family can be asked to enact the problem in the session. Demonstrating the problem allows the therapist to observe the relevant interactions in ways that the family cannot express in words. Goals: test hypotheses; observe sequences and the structure governing behaviors such as malfunctioning hierarchies, coalitions, quality of parental function...
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