sg_chpt4

Without a hypothesis the therapists questions will

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Unformatted text preview: g them toward seeing themselves in a relational context and also seeing that context from the perspectives of other family members” (Nichols & Schwartz, 1998, p. 376). The therapist is curious about how the family system operates, but indifferent to any particular outcome because to do so would unduly pressure the family (Nichols & Schwartz). Instead, the therapist generates multiple new hypotheses to help the family find different ways of viewing and understanding their problems. The model is characterized by the concepts of hypothesizing, circularity, and neutrality that originated in the work before the split in the Milan group. Assessment and Treatment Hypothesizing is an assessment tool through which the therapist begins an exploration into the family system and invites the family to join him/her in the investigation. Hypotheses must be systemic. That is, they must take into account all relational components of the family. The working hypothesis guides the circular questioning. “Without [a] hypothesis [the therapist’s] questions will lack a coherent meaning and bring no new information to the family” (Piercy, et al., 1996, p. 61). Alternate hypotheses develop through the questions the therapist poses to the family; responses from the family lead to new hypotheses by the therapist, which leads to new questions, more responses, and new hypotheses. All hypotheses are considered equally valid (Piercy, et al., 1986) so long as they provide new information about how the family system operates. Influenced by Bateson’s work, the Milan group (i.e., Boscolo and Cecchin) believe that premises, values, or guiding principles might be unconscious. In forming hypothesis and questions, they look for a premise or myth that holds the behaviors attached to a problem. If the premise can be shifted, change might occur together with the change in beliefs. Circularity refers both to the attributes of member-to-member interactions and to the form of interactions between the therapist and the family. Any individual family member’s behavior must be understood to be part of a circular seque...
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