Rigor, imagination, humility, and love: Systemic wisdom in psychotherapy practice
This article proposes that wisdom is an integral ingredient in effective therapy, and offers a way of thinking about how wisdom grounded in systems thinking can be enacted and embodied. Rigor, imagination, humility, and love are four components that make up systemic wisdom in psychotherapy. Rigor refers to the establishment and maintenance of a viable frame for therapy; imagination to the pragmatics of meaning-making; humility, to the experience of complexity and chaos in the therapy system; and love, to the fundamental, biologically based emotional structure of the therapy relationship. These ideas pertain to work with individuals, couples, and families and are meant as principles rather than as a specific model. Therapy organized by these principles is effective by virtue of its aesthetic quality-its connecting of parts to whole and whole to parts-in addition to its instrumentality.
Family therapy as hypnotic conversation
Norwalk, CT : Crown House Publishing Limited; US, 2014
Men are grass: Bateson, Erickson, utilization and metaphor
The relationship between metaphor and the practice of utilization in therapy and hypnosis can be seen as dependent on metaphor's role in structuring experience. The work of Gregory Bateson and others is used to illustrate how metaphor functions. Bateson's comparison of two forms of syllogistic logic provides a background for distinguishing between the experiential effects of metaphor in contrast to the categorical thinking inherent in simile and analogy. Clinical examples are given to demonstrate how utilization is structured by metaphor, particularly as Bateson has described it in his analysis of the Syllogism in Grass
Function at the junction: revisiting the idea of functionality in family therapy
With the emergence of postmodern models and critiques, the concept of symptom functionality has lost favor in the family therapy field. To be reconsidered as clinically valuable it must both demonstrate pragmatic utility and meet ethical and conceptual criteria. Functional hypotheses cannot be believed too strongly, used to blame, or employed without considerations of biology. Symptom functionality is considered in its strong and weak versions. Tempered by the more ecological weak sense, strong-sense functional hypotheses are presented as one form of description that can guide a therapist's actions
A continuum of hypnotherapeutic interactions: from formal hypnosis to hypnotic conversation
Hypnotherapeutic interactions can be mapped on a continuum from formal hypnosis to hypnotic conversation. Unlike the structured forms of formal hypnosis, hypnotic conversation relies upon utilizing the client's responses, both verbal and non-verbal, to facilitate therapeutic process. In this paper, we illustrate this continuum with a series of anecdotal clinical examples starting with formal hypnosis and moving incrementally towards hypnotic conversation. Finally, we offer an example similar in appearance to formal hypnosis, but now described in the context of hypnotic conversation. We are neither putting forth a theory nor offering a new perspective for those who research hypnosis as a phenomenon. Rather, these ideas and metaphors serve to broaden the framework of what constitutes hypnotic interaction so as to evoke new opportunities for increasing therapeutic efficiency and efficacy.
Is anger a thing-to-be-managed?
This article examines the theoretical and clinical implications of rejecting the idea that anger is a thing-to-be-managed. The concept of anger is constructed from metaphors grounded in people's bodily experience and folk psychology. These constructions promote a version of anger as a thing-to-be-managed, lending support to the anger-management paradigm. This article offers a critique of these ways of construing anger, presenting, instead, a model of anger as an in-relation-to phenomenon that fits with a nondualistic version of human experience. The clinical principles of unpacking, framing anger as a resource, and coordinating are presented as alternatives to the management paradigm
Embodiment and Coordination
(from the journal abstract) Embodiment and coordination are terms I employ to describe a therapeutic stance that respects the dual nature of humans as both biological organisms and experiencing subjects. I present anxiety as an example of the kind of phenomenon, both biological and phenomenological, that can be approached from the stance of embodiment and coordination. Through the use of three case examples, I describe an approach that respects and values the ability of persons as living systems to embody and coordinate anxiety such that anxiety, once felt as scary and 'not-me,' can be meaningfully experienced as embodied, as 'part of me,' and revalued as a potential and resource of the person.
Unpacking and Keeping it Packed: Two Forms of Therapist Responsivity
The terms "unpacking" and "keeping it packed" are used here to distinguish two practices of systemically informed therapy. Human beings exist and operate in an array of experiential constraints that serve to stabilize but also to limit the dimensions of a person's process of living. Unpacking is a form of interaction in which therapist and client collaborate to generate more possibilities by identifying, opening up, breaking up, and making distinctions within existing constraints. With keeping it packed, the therapist facilitates a different form of relationship between the client and his/her experience of those phenomena that elude easy description yet are directly sensed and felt. This article seeks to define these terms and provide examples of and an argument for their use in the context of systemically informed therapy