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Unformatted text preview: ily’s ideas or
preferred outcome, since they believed that the therapy could and should only
perturb or disrupt the system, not direct the family toward any particular
Boscolo, L, Cecchin, G., Hoffman, L. & Penn, P. (1987). Milan systemic family
therapy: Conversations in theory and practice. New York: Basic Books. Introduction:
From psychoanalysis to systems. 3 – 28.
This chapter describes the evolution of the authors from a psychoanalytic to a
family systems orientation and the changes that have occurred in their model
over time. Boscolo and Cecchin joined Selvini Palazzoli’s group in Milan, Italy.
The group originally treated severely disturbed children and their families using
a psychoanalytic model, but found this model discouraging and frustrating and
the treatment prolonged. They turned to the work of the Mental Research
Institute (MRI), particularly the ideas of Bateson on double bind communication
in his 1972 book, Steps to an Ecology of Mind.
The MRI therapists focused on relationships rather than individual pathology.
The Milan team expanded on the MRI work. Changes in symptoms and
problems, then, proceeded from changes in interactional patterns. Pathology Chapter 4: Strategic & Systemic
derived from double bind communications with their contradictory messages.
Schizophrenia, for example, was seen as a “mistaken epistemology that any one
person can unilaterally control relationships” (p. 5). This epistemology implies
linear causality and leads to one person trying to exert control, which in turn
leads to the other trying to re-exert control in an endless and fruitless game.
Based on their own work with families with a member diagnosed with
schizophrenia, the Milan group concluded that: 1) the families are involved in
unacknowledged family games; 2) family members, through these games, try to
control each other’s behavior; 3) the therapist’s job is to discover the games and
Evolving from the MRI game and coalition theories, the Milan group, in thos...
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This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.
- Spring '09