Unformatted text preview: nce
of behaviors, but not its origin (as it would with linear causality).
Circular Questioning is the therapy interview technique. Most interactions
between the therapist and the family consist of questions and responses. The
questions posed to the family are based on the therapist’s hypothesis and require
responses that are relational descriptions of family interactions. This helps
members see the perspectives of other members. For example, a father may be Chapter 4: Strategic & Systemic
asked to tell how his wife sees her relationship with her son or a child might be
asked what might happen to his brother (who is symptomatic) if their mother
and grandmother didn’t fight so much. Circular questions also explore aspects of
family interactions such as the degree and time of the problem, e.g., Did that
occur before or after? How much? How often?
Neutrality (Curiosity) and Irreverence. Neutrality was the term originally used
to describe the attitude of the therapist toward the hypotheses generated in
treatment. It has been replaced by “curiosity” and is the basic therapeutic stance.
The therapist conveys an attitude of curious exploration when asking questions
or responding to the family members’ answers. Recently, Cecchin suggests that
therapists also convey “irreverence,” that is, he/she should not be inclined
toward any one or another set of rules or beliefs that might govern the family
interactions and should encourage a similarly irreverent attitude in family
members (Nichols & Schwartz, 1998). One way the therapist could encourage
irreverence and/or a more flexible view of the family beliefs, is through the odd
day/even day ritual. The therapist would give a directive that on odd days one
set of opinions would be true, but on even days, false. The directive for the
seventh day is to act spontaneously.
The therapist is also neutral with respect to his/her relationship to each family
member, being careful not to form coalitions or take one side against another.
He/she avoids a moral or judgmental position toward a fam...
View Full Document
- Spring '09
- Family therapy, therapist, Jay Haley, Nichols & Schwartz